For something that should be so relaxing and refreshing, sleep could sometimes be so stressful and quite the drag, especially when you suffer from its perpetual absence. Granted, there might be a plethora of seemingly unavoidable reasons why you’re not getting your much needed sleep: stressful work hours, taking care of the kids round the clock, working numerous shifts, extensive study hours, binge watching that novel Netflix show so you don’t miss a beat on Reddit fan pages and so on.
However, some of the reasons might be due to not-so-healthy lifestyle choices such as overconsumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol, pure disdain for exercising, overindulgent social habits, constant excessive screen time, poor diet and impractical sleep schedules.
While you might have made it this far with a persistent cycle of sleep deprivation, it might interest you to know that from research, poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children.
In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better, and be healthier. A good night’s sleep (which should be 7-9 hours for adults) is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep but if you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are a couple of tips to sleep better at night;
- Stick to a sleep schedule
Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this goal.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
If you don’t fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you’re tired. Repeat as needed.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort might keep you up.
Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
- Create a restful environment
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.
- Limit daytime naps
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.
If you work nights, however, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime, however.
Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.
- Manage worries
Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
Stress management might help. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.
Know when to contact your doctor
Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.
Teens and Sleep
Sleep problems are a special concern for teenagers. The average teen needs about 9 hours of sleep a night. Children and teens who don’t get that much may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.
In addition to the sleep tips for adults, teens can also try:
- 1) Avoiding screen time at least an hour before bed.
- 2) Banning all-nighters (Don’t leave homework for the last minute!)
- 3)Writing in a diary or on a to-do list just before sleep, to reduce stress
- 4)Sleeping no more than 2 hours later on weekend mornings than on weekday mornings.
With these tips, we hope you’ll be catching more Zs and casting away your worries as you grab your shut eye henceforth. Should you however require more professional attention to enable you sleep better, be sure to get in touch with us. Lights out 🙂