I am certain that almost everyone of you has had the experience of not getting enough sleep occasionally! And remember how you felt the next day – tired, cranky and short tempered. For most people, this is not a problem because a short nap during the day will quickly restore your mood and energy and you’re back to normal.
However, there are more people than we realize for whom this is a very serious issue which they battle with night after night. Ideally, we should have between 7 – 9 hours of sleep. How many hours we need is different for every individual. Yes, sleep deprivation can cause havoc with your health, therefore it is vital to try and figure out why we are not sleeping properly and what we can do to normalize our sleeping habits.
Sleep deprivation impacts your immune system, and as we all know this may have many known side effects.
- You may start craving carbohydrates, and if you indulge, you may put on some unwanted pounds
- Can cause accidents when driving because you are not alert enough
- It minimizes sex drive
- Lack of concentration and focus
- Premature ageing of the body
- Can lead to depression
- You become forgetful
- And an array of other serious health implications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes etc.
So what do we do to optimize and improve our sleeping patterns in order to ensure good health? Well, there are quite a few things we need to address and we will discuss some of them now.
“All life evolved in response to predictable patterns of light and darkness, called circadian rhythms. Modern day electrical lighting has significantly betrayed your inner clock by disrupting your natural rhythms. Little bits of light pass directly through your optic nerve to your hypothalamus, which controls your biological clock. Light signals your brain that it’s time to wake up and starts preparing your body for ACTION.” https://tinyurl.com/yak4btu7
A good mattress and comfortable pillows:
It is essential when going to bed that it is something to look forward to instead of dreading. Make sure your mattress is the best you can afford to buy. Also, ensure that the pillows you are using are as comfortable as possible if they aren’t then replacing them immediately would be a good idea. The right type of blankets i.e. weight and warmth are also an important factor to consider.
If you have a partner that snores or sleeps very restlessly, you may want to consider separate mattresses or separate beds entirely, and in the case of snoring maybe even separate rooms. This may sound like a drastic measure, but remember that your well being is at stake here, so it is worth a try.
A cool, dark room is most conducive to a good night’s sleep:
Studies have revealed that the temperature of the room also plays an important part, and it was suggested that the room should not be warmer than approximately 18C.
Make the room as dark as possible.The darkness and the coolness of the room combined will signal your brain to kick up the melatonin production and help you drop off to sleep.
Reserve your bed for sleeping only:
Do not have a television in your bedroom, and do not sit on your bed and work. These activities may overstimulate the brain and cause you problems to relax when you do finally try to sleep. The same applies to reading in bed. Try not to read thrillers or horror stories before going to sleep, your brain and imagination may get carried away and sleep may elude you for many hours. If you like reading before going to sleep chose something less stimulating.
Alarm clocks and other electronic devices:
If you are having problems sleeping then all electronic and electrical items should be kept out of the bedroom. If you must keep them close, then make sure they are at least 3feet / 1 meter away from your body because they emit electromagnetic waves which interfere with your bodies’ equilibrium.
Make sure there are no power cables running under your bed or close to your head. Turn your Wi-Fi off at night, you are not using it anyway, so why have it on?
Coffee and or food before bedtime:
Avoid eating and drinking too close to bedtime altogether. The most common culprits are drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages, spicy foods and unhealthy fatty or sugary food as well as alcohol. Food should be consumed 3 -4 hours prior to bedtime in order to avoid interference with your sleeping patterns:
“A 2012 study offers powerful confirmation of this recommendation. It found the mere act of temporarily altering your typical eating habits — such as getting up in the middle of the night for a snack — causes a certain protein to synchronize your internal food clock, which can throw you off-kilter and set a vicious cycle in motion”.Dr.Mercola
There are many other factors to consider as well, but we will go into those in more depth in a follow-up article. In the meantime, give these a try and please let me know if any of these have been effective in helping you get a better night’s sleep.
I wish you good zzzz’s until next time!