Sleep Deprivation ?
The greatest obstacle between us and sleep is ourselves. Sleep devolves into less of a priority as we age, plagued by various bad habits we do very little to shake. What happened to our relationship with sleep? It’s been substituted for late night television, late nights at work and a ceaseless probe of the internet. It’s time to start getting the rest you deserve.
Consider your usual protocol just before bed, what could change for the better? Have you checked what medical experts have to say about the importance of sleep? Ask Yourself:
- Do you sleep on an old or uncomfortable bed?
- Do you have a nightly bedtime established throughout the week?
- Do you watch TV, surf the net, or engage in stimulating activities right before bed?
- Do you indulge in large meals close to bedtime?
- Do you drink alcohol before bed?
- Do you take long naps?
- Do you stay in bed when you can’t fall asleep?
- If you answer yes to several of these questions and experience sleep issues, consider dropping these habits in the name of more restorative sleep and restful nights.
You’re reading about sleep deprivation
1. Sleeping on an old mattress
Traditional mattresses can lose roughly 80% of their support in the first year alone, creating all sorts of pressure points for your body to contend with. Upgrading to a newer style, like a latex mattress, can give your relationship with sleep a much needed lift, allowing you to wake up each morning feeling energized and ready to go. A more comfortable mattress can help you fall asleep faster, eliminating those restless nights altogether. Make an investment in your health and purchase a quality latex mattress. Improving your sleep environment is a key factor in feeling rested every day.
2. Constantly changing bedtime
Your body literally has a rhythm for sleep, referred to as the ‘circadian rhythm’. Many people have weekday routines, but don’t stick to the same patterns on weekends. You are more likely feel like staying out later than usual as the weekend presents itself, but you may notice the familiar fatigue setting in around the same time of night. You’ve conditioned yourself to turn in the same time every night and this is your body’s response. While it’s okay to sneak an extra few hours of wakefulness into your weekend, try to respect the bedtime you’ve established. Struggling to sleep with Monday just around the corner is an experience not worth repeating.
3. Stimulating activities before bed
The last thing you do before turning in for the night significantly impacts your quality of sleep. Needless to say, the this is time you should be trying to turn your mind off instead of actively engaging it. Make television and computers off limits an hour before bed; as little as composing an email can leave your brain racing right before getting under the covers. Substitute your usual activities with less stimulating alternatives: read a book, take a bath and take a step outside of your mind. Make an effort to decompress at the end of the night and you’ll be able to fall asleep with ease.
4. Large meals before bed
Our hectic schedules demand a lot out of us. When we become so engrossed in what’s going on around us we can push our final meal of the day to the very end of the night. Not only is this bad for your metabolism, certain ingredients in food can cause you to stay awake throughout the entire night. Make a conscious effort to eat your final meal well before bedtime. Can’t resist the impulse for a midnight snack? Try eating oatmeal, tuna, fruit or nuts before bed — they’re easy to digest and may actually help make sleep more accessible in the process.
5. Drinking alcoholic beverages before bed
Although alcohol is classified as a depressant, consuming enough of your favorite cocktails actually disrupts the natural cycle of sleep. As your body processes the alcohol it stimulates the body into wakefulness, resulting in broken up sleep throughout the night. Additionally, you’ll likely need to make a trip to the restroom as your bladder fills at odd hours — highly destructive to natural sleep. Space your drinks out accordingly and be ready to cut yourself off well before bed. The time to indulge is not right before succumbing to your bed.
6. Taking long naps
At a certain point in the workday nothing sounds better than a nap. While naps aren’t inherently bad for you, switching off your sleep cycle is. When you nap for long periods of time you enter REM, a deeper stage of sleep that directly influences the wakeful hours to follow. There’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of a REM cycle, often times you feel more exhausted than when you initially set out to nap. You’re essentially telling your body it’s time to start the long day, a huge problem if you’re sleeping after already finishing one. You’ll find it’s nearly impossible to fall asleep when operating on different REM cycles. Power naps are a real thing. Are you trying to catch up on lost sleep? Try napping for 20 minutes on a luxurious natural latex mattress rather than several hours and feel the difference.
7. Don’t lie awake fighting sleep
There’s more psychology behind a good night’s sleep than most people realize. When we begin to associate our bedroom with anything other than restful sleep, it plays a major factor in our ability to receive proper rest. If you experience consecutive restless nights in bed, do something about it. Chances are your mind hasn’t had enough time to shut itself off, so help it. Ignore the alarm clock — don’t even look at it. Don’t pressure your psyche into falling asleep, it just won’t happen. Take the time to out of bed and find a low energy activity like reading to help induce sleep.
Start Improving Your Sleep Now
Your sleep is important, don’t do anything that would compromise it. This is not a myth. If you’re guilty of any of these bad sleeping habits, now is the time to get serious about changing your practices. When you shed even a few of these bad habits, you’ll find the difference can sometimes be dramatic. Wouldn’t you like to wake up feeling refreshed every single morning? It’s not impossible. Start working toward that goal today.
Citations: Image from Flickr by ryantronWritten by One Mall Group and Astrabeds Mattresses.
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