It is estimated that as many as 70 million Americans have trouble sleeping. And, it is progressively getting worse with the proliferation of gadgets and bad habits. If people know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, why can’t they achieve it? Here are some reasons you may not be sleeping as well as you should. Find out how to give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep.
Are You Sleep Deprived?
How can you tell if you are sleep deprived or it is just a “bad night”? The best way is to ask yourself some key questions. Do you:
- Have trouble falling asleep?
- Go to sleep easily but wake up repeatedly throughout the night?
- Find it hard to drag yourself out of bed in the morning?
- Snore or does your significant other snore?
- Regularly get less than seven hours of sleep per night?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably dealing with a lack of sleep. But don’t worry, you are not alone. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to give yourself the gift of sleep. But first, you should understand the ramification of sleep deprivation.
Sleep Deprivation is Hazardous to Your Health
Healthy sleep is absolutely essential to a brain-healthy life. Sleep rejuvenates all the cells in your body and gives your brain cells a chance to repair themselves. A good night’s rest also helps wash away toxins that build up during the day. Also, it activates neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity.
Skimping on sleep can affect your health in more ways than you might imagine. When you don’t get enough sleep, you have overall decreased blood flow to your brain. And that disrupts thinking, memory and concentration, which can affect your entire life.
Scientific and medical research has associated sleep deprivation with many health risks, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- ADD and the worsening of ADD symptoms
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Weight gain
- Poor lifestyle choices
Strategies for Improving Your Sleep
Remember that we are all unique individuals and what works for one person may not work for another. So keep trying new techniques until you find something that works. Here are more than a dozen tips you can try:
1. Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each day, including on weekends. Do this regardless of how much sleep you got the night before.
2. Make Your Bedroom More Comfortable
Control the temperature so that your room isn’t too hot or too cold. Also, keep your room as dark as possible while sleeping.
3. Create a Soothing Nighttime Routine
A warm bath, meditation, or massage can help you relax.
4. Skip That Nap
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you have trouble sleeping. Daytime naps will make the nighttime sleep cycle disruption worse.
5. Use Sound Therapy
Soothing nature sounds, soft music, wind chimes, white noise makers or even a fan can induce a very peaceful mood and lull you to sleep.
6. Increase Serotonin
Drink a mixture of warm milk, a teaspoon of real vanilla, and a few drops of Stevia, which will increase serotonin in your brain and help you sleep. Some people take melatonin for a better night’s sleep but talk to your doctor first. It can raise blood sugar and blood pressure in some cases.
7. Create a Tech-Free Bedroom
Take computers, video games, the TV and cell phones out of your bedroom and turn them off an hour or two before bedtime to allow time to “unwind.” Plus, they emit a type of light that stimulates the brain.
8. Avoid Going to Bed on a Full Stomach
Avoid eating for at least two to three hours before going to bed.
9. Get Lots of Regular Exercise
Activity is proven to be beneficial for insomnia. However, don’t do it within four hours of the time you go to sleep as vigorous exercise late in the evening may energize you and keep you awake.
10. Watch Out for Stimulants
Don’t drink any caffeinated beverages and avoid chocolate, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon or evening. Although alcohol can initially make you feel sleepy, it actually interrupts sleep later in the evening.
11. Move the Clock Out of View
If you wake up in the middle of the night, refrain from looking at the clock. Checking the time can make you feel anxious, which will only make it harder to go back to sleep.
12. Use Your Bedroom for Sleeping and for Sex Only
Sexual activity releases many natural hormones, releases muscle tension, and boosts a sense of well-being.
13. Stop Tossing and Turning
If you are unable to fall asleep or return to sleep easily, get up and go to another room to do something relaxing until you feel more tired.
With these steps, you can give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep. Try a few or try them all because scientific studies have proven they work. What you have to do is find what works just for you.