We’ve all experienced sleep deprivation on some level at some point. It’s exceptionally difficult to get all of the sleep we need in today’s busy world. And while very recent studies involving our hunter-gatherer ancestors are showing that we may not need as much shut-eye as we were once told, it’s still very important that we get adequette amounts of rest.
Failing to obtain enough high quality rest can have serious consequences. People who are chronically sleep-deprived are prone to a wide range of health risks, including obesity and even diabetes. Sleep deprivation can also wreak havoc on your immune system, and with Daylight Saving Time just around the corner, it’s important that you get yourself into a healthy sleep cycle now to prevent susceptibility to the upcoming flu and cold season. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
Ditch the screen before bed. Studies show that devices with backlit screens - such as phones, tablets, computers, and televisions - stimulate the brain and suppress melatonin, a natural hormone the body secrets to help regulate the sleep cycle. Avoiding contact with these sorts of devices at least an hour before bedtime - or even two hours beforehand! - will help your body prepare for sleep.
Develop a bedtime routine. Speaking of prepping for sleep, did you know that a routine before bed can help your body fall asleep faster? Try to take a warm bath or shower, or even just read a book or magazine prior to your slumber. Gentle activities like these can aid in the transition from wakefulness to drowsiness.
Get on a regular sleep schedule. Everyone’s body has a circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle we naturally operate on. When you begin a routine of going to bed and waking up around the same time every day, your circadian rhythm grows more stable, and this makes for better and more satisfying amounts of sleep at night.
Work out smartly. Physical activity can also help to stabilize your circadian rhythm, particularly when you incorporate it into your regular schedule. However, if you work out too close to bedtime, your body will likely be too energized to fall asleep easily. So make sure you exercise at least a couple hours before you schedule your shut-eye.
Avoid naps. As tempting as they are, daytime napping is another way to upset your body’s biological clock and make it more difficult to fall asleep when you need to. If you absolutely must take a snooze before bedtime, limit your nap to under 30 minutes - this will help ensure that your body can still reach a deep level of sleep at night.
Be particular about space. Depending on the state of your living area, you may find a number of minor issues in your space are keeping you from getting restful night’s sleep. Allergens or even limited sleep space are both examples of problems in your living area that can impact your Z’s. If you’re sensitive to allergens, make sure your mattress has an allergen-resistant cover over it to prevent dust mites or seasonal particles from building up and contributing to allergy-related breathing problems (which can interfere with your body’s ability to rest soundly). The same goes for your sheets and pillows - ensure they are washed regularly to avoid allergic reactions while you sleep. Also make sure your body has enough space in your bed to be comfortable and relaxed; for example, if you sleep with pets or children, limit the amount of time they crowd you in the night, and make some time just for you!
Of course, even when implementing all of these sleep tips, it’s normal to have a sleepless night on occasion. That said, if you are experiencing consistent issues with getting the rest you need do not be afraid to contact your doctor here at Genesis Medical. There could be other health factors that are contributing to that kind of insomnia, and it’s best to get those checked out earlier rather than later - that way, we can help you begin feeling rested and healthy again ASAP!