Are You Suffering From Sleep Deprivation?
We all need sleep. Even if we don’t feel as though we have enough time in our days to get this sleep—it is imperative to our overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, while sleep is important, most of us aren’t getting enough sleep each and every night and suffering from sleep deprivation. While you can’t magically make more hours in the day—there are several things you can do in order to make sure you are getting quality sleep with these sleeping tips.
This is often more difficult than it seems to accomplish. When you think about all of the factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep, it is easy to see why so many people struggle to get enough rest each and every night. Work, stress, family life, and busy schedules can all interfere with your sleep, and we have some healthy habits that can help you overcome these things that may be getting in the way of your sleep so you can get a better night rest each and every night.
Sleep schedules are some of the best ways to make sure that you are consistently getting the quality night of sleep each and every evening. Healthy adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night—and typically don’t need more than eight hours.
Sleep schedules are relatively simple to set up: you want to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Sleep schedules are really that easy. You want to try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule as much as possible—particularly when setting a sleep schedule on the weekend. In fact, the biggest issue most people have with maintaining a sleep schedule is keeping that schedule on the weekends. You shouldn’t differentiate your sleep schedule by more than an hour—whether it is a weekday or weeknight.
Sleep-Wake Cycle Additional Tips:
Consistency, over time will only reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle. If you are struggling with falling asleep, but trying to get on a sleep cycle, here are a few tips that you can try in order to fall asleep so you can stay on your sleep/wake cycle:
If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and leave your bedroom to do something else relaxing. Go back into your room and go to bed once you are tired and repeat until you fall asleep.
If you are switching time zones, make sure that you are trying to stick to the sleep/wake cycle for your normal time zone.
Maintaining Your Wake Cycle:
Of course, when it comes to maintaining your “wake” cycle—you need to get up at the same time every morning. This includes the weekends of course. Set an alarm for the morning at the same time both on weekends and weekdays. If you are prone to snoozing, do your best to stop hitting the snooze button and getting up right away to help keep your cycle on schedule.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
What you are eating and drinking can actually have a serious impact on your sleep schedule. Pay close attention to what you eat and drink as your diet may be having an impact on your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Here are a few diet tips to keep in mind if you are looking to improve your sleep schedule.
Don’t go to bed hungry or really full. Make sure to avoid heavy meals within a few hours of bedtime. This can cause discomfort that can keep you awake.
If you use nicotine, don’t use it in the evening. Nicotine can have stimulating effects that take hours to wear off.
Don’t drink sugary drinks or caffeine in the evening as it can disrupt your sleep schedule.
Avoid alcohol if you are having trouble sleeping. While some people feel as though alcohol can make them feel sleepy—it can actually cause disruptions in their sleep later on.
Sugary foods and refined carbs can also have an impact on your ability to fall asleep—so try to eat clean vegetables, lean proteins and non-processed foods, particularly in the evening.
Don’t drink too many liquids in the evening—it can end up causing you to have frequent trips to the bathroom.
These are simple changes that can actually have a big impact on your diet and your ability to get a good night rest.
The environment that you sleep in has a huge impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep in the night. You want to make sure that your sleep environment is quiet, cool, comfortable and dark. Next sleeping tip to consider is your bed. Your bed should be clean and only used for sleeping. Don’t eat or watch TV in your bed if you can avoid it—that way your body knows when you get in the bed, it is time to sleep. Too much light in the room can throw off your rhythm and confuse your body into thinking it is a different time of day than it actually is. It is best to try to get as much natural light or daylight as you can during the day—and avoid as much light as possible at night.
While regular light is important to avoid it is even more important to avoid blue light. This is the light that you get from your tablets, smartphones and the television. This light actually impacts the hormone that impacts your circadian rhythm, known as melatonin. Typically, your melatonin increases as you get ready to go to bed, but blue light can cause it to decrease. Even if you think that looking at your phone or computer will help you “relax” before bed, this light will actually cause your brain to feel stimulated, making it difficult for your brain to unwind so you can fall asleep. Too much blue light can also make your brain think that the sun is out and make it difficult for you to drift off to sleep.
The best thing that you can do is to avoid blue light completely for two hours before you go to bed. However, you should cut off your blue light access at minimum, 30 minutes before bedtime.
Limit Daytime Naps
If you can’t get to sleep at night, then you need to limit your daytime naps as much as possible. For some people naps are simply part of the vicious cycle of their poor sleep habits. They don’t sleep well, the night before, and then they need to nap during the next day in order to make it through. However, you need to try to limit your naps as it can help you get tired enough to get to sleep that night and avoid sleep deprivation.
If you feel as though you must nap, limit yourself to a nap of no more than 30 minutes and make sure that you aren’t napping too late in the day. While limiting your daytime naps can be difficult at first, overtime it will help your body naturally get back on that sleep cycle.
Struggling with sleep? Getting more exercise can be a great way to turn things around. Regular physical exercise is shown to help promote better sleep. However, you want to avoid being too active too close to bedtime. For some people, this causes them to be over stimulated and have difficulty falling asleep. Most studies show that getting exercise in the morning is the best option for those who struggle with sleep. Exercising in the morning prevents most people from sleeping in and helps them get up in the morning so they can establish their sleep/wake cycle.
Exercising can heat the body, and the post-exercise drop in temperature can actually help people fall asleep. Exercise can also decrease anxiety, arousal and depressive symptoms that can impact sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has even done a study on exercise and chronic insomnia and the results suggest that can improve the symptoms even of serious sleep issues like that.
It doesn’t particularly matter what type of exercise you get—it is just important that you are getting regular exercise for at least 30 minutes at a time every day. If you can, it is best to exercise outside when you struggle to get asleep. This way, you can get vital natural daylight that will help with your circadian rhythm.
Stress and worries are some of the biggest reasons that people struggle to get to sleep at night. When researched, many people who struggle with sleep claim that their stress and worry is what prevents them from getting the sleep that they need. Stress can lead to depression, sleep issues, tension, anxiety and other issues and if this stress is not properly managed, it can impact overall health and well-being. When your mind is wandering and preoccupied with worry and your body is physically in a state of stress—it can seriously impact your ability to fall asleep.
Additional Stress Relieving Tips:
Here are a few ways to help minimize your stress so that you can start getting the sleep you need:
Assess what is causing your stress. The first step to helping with stress, is to figure out what is actually causing your agitated state. Is it work? Pain? Personal relationships? You need to determine the cause of your stress first so you can find the right approach to fixing it.
Try natural stress-reduction techniques. Yoga and meditation are both natural ways to start managing the stress you are feeling in your life. These easy stress-reduction techniques are proven to help people manage their stress and find better peace of mind.
Get social support. Reaching out to friends and family can provide a much-needed stress buffer. Make sure to find people that you can trust to talk to about your feelings.
Exercise. We already talked about the importance of exercise for your sleep patterns, but regular exercise can also help release endorphins in your body which are known to help with feelings of stress and depression.
Of course, if your stress is continuing to prevent you from getting the sleep that you need, it may be time to seek professional help in order to manage your stress and related symptoms to help with your sleep concerns.
Make The Adjustment To Help You Get Into A Healthy Sleep Pattern
Unfortunately, while we all need sleep—it isn’t always so easy to get enough rest every night to avoid sleep deprivation. If you are struggling to get enough sleep and find that you are tired, unable to concentrated or struggling to perform daily duties during the day—it is time to start trying these healthy sleeping tip approaches. Sometimes even the simplest of changes to your current daytime or nighttime routine can help you get into a healthy sleep pattern that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Jessica Lauren is Founder, contributing Author and Owner of Citrus Sleep. Citrus Sleep is an online publication that highlights brands, sleep products, women’s fashion, subscription services and ideas creating positive social change and promoting a healthy lifestyle. After spending nearly a decade working in PR and marketing for several brands and startups, Jessica knows what truly drives conversions, sold-out launches and guest posts.