We’ve all had nights when we lie in bed for hours, tossing and turning impatiently, waiting for sleep to take us into its comforting arms. Often, it is our own thoughts and worries which keep us up at night. Maybe we have a big meeting or an interview the next day or we’ve just spent too many late hours watching our favorite television show.
Whatever the reason may be, lack of sleep is not good for anyone’s health or productivity but a recent research shows that almost half of the adults in the US don’t get the recommended hours of sleep every night, leading to chronic fatigue and burnout that can affect the professional and personal aspect of their lives. So, what exactly can you do if your snooze is lackluster?
Many experts speculate that people struggle to fall asleep because the 24/7 society that they live in has made it difficult to differentiate between day and night. People think that sleeping is as easy as turning off a switch but it is a process that can take your brain a while to adapt to. What’s worse is that the lack of sleep doesn’t just translate into fatigue and morning grogginess the next day but it can actually disrupt your biological clock and affect your appetite along with overall heath.
Nutritionists say that lack of sleep can lead to the buildup of hunger hormone called ghrelin which is often the culprit behind ‘midnight cravings’. This increase in appetite during wee hours of night can lead to weight gain and even obesity. Moreover, poor sleep quality is also destructive for our productivity, causing a lack of attention, concentration and increasing the chances of making mistakes at work.
Now that you know why a good night’s rest is important for your health, here are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re able to fall asleep soon after you hit the sheets.
Counting Sheep Won’t Help
Sleep psychologist Dr. Harris says that there is no evidence to prove that the ancient method of counting sheep or counting backwards in your head actually helps you fall asleep. Instead, what he suggests is that you avoid any type of liquids before sleeping, unless you need a small sip of water to take your medicine.
Don’t Destroy Your Schedule on Weekends
Most people tend to stay in bed till noon on Saturdays and Sundays to make up for the lack of sleep during the work week, but by doing so, you’re simply disrupting your schedule and delaying bedtime for the rest of the week.
Dr. Harris says that people who sleep till late over the weekends find it hard to adjust to their routine schedule which is why they end up staying awake past midnight on Monday mornings. Not the best way to start the week, right?
Get Some Exercise During the Day
It’s important that you exercise regularly in order to fatigue our body enough to fall asleep at night, but Harris says that it isn’t advisable to hit the gym late at night after you’ve wrapped up all your chores since it can affect your sleep. You can get in a quick workout anytime of the day apart from the final three hours of it, according to the experts’ recommendation.
Don’t Bring the Electronics to Your Bed
Using electronics including phones, laptops, and television before bedtime is highly discouraged by sleep experts. The light emitted by electronics can suppress or delay the production of sleep hormone called melatonin which is only released once we’re in complete darkness. If you like to listen to some soothing music or an audiobook before sleeping, you can still do it without looking at your cellphone or a bright screen.
Resist the Temptation to Take Naps
This is probably the hardest piece of advice so far, but it’s for your own good. Dr. Harris says that naps steal time from your actual sleep and could be one of the reasons why you’re having trouble snoozing at night. If you really find yourself needing a quick pick-me-up, schedule power naps of no more than 30 minutes before 3 p.m.