Sleep is very critical to your health and wellbeing more so because it helps to reduce your risk of suffering from various physical and mental illnesses including stress, depression, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, stroke, and high blood pressure among others. What’s more, getting adequate sleep helps to ensure that your cognitive processes such as emotion, memory, attention, concentration, and judgment are not affected.
With that said, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your health, cognitive funtion, relationships, and day to day activities including your work, sex life, just to mention a few. On the other hand, sleep deprivation or insomnia can be caused by mental illnesses such as depression (ADHD), anxiety, stress, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, and lifestyle habits such as irregular sleep patterns, caffeine intake, alcohol, etc.
From the above information, you will agree with me that the benefits of having a good night’s sleep cannot be overemphasized. So, if you have sleep problems, this article will help you gain insights on what to do if you can’t sleep well.
Solving your sleep problems starts with having a regular schedule for going to bed. In other words, you need to determine the time you will be going to bed each and every night, and what time you will be waking up each and every morning. Having a consistent sleep routine helps to restore your brainpower, your energy levels, and it also helps to improve your overall wellbeing. What’s more, it is imperative that you sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours.
Incorporating regular exercises in your day to day routine ensures that you not only have a restful night, but that your sleep habits are healthy. Exercising regularly helps to improve your sleep quality, the number of hours you sleep, and it also helps to minimize stress levels, as well as anxiety.
In other words, when you exercise, you tend to use up a lot of energy, which makes you long for some rest. What’s more, exercises like yoga and those that involve stretching your muscles can also help to lower blood pressure, cortisol, and improve your mood.
The environment in which you sleep also has great influence on your quality and quantity of sleep. For instance, the lighting in your room can make it difficult for you to fall sleep, and it can also interfere with your internal clock, thus affecting your preferred time of sleeping. What’s more, other factors like noise, temperature, distractions from your phone, television, or laptop, as well as the comfort of your bed, can significantly affect your ability to sleep adequately.
Therefore, it is important that you always ensure that your bedroom is conducive by switching off the lights, having a comfortable bed, switching off electronic gadgets, and checking your room’s temperature.
Caffeine and alcohol are known to have a disruptive effect on your sleep patterns. For instance, caffeine been a stimulant can prevent you from falling asleep, and it can also interfere with your biological clock. Therefore, it is important that you limit your caffeine intake before going to bed.
On the other hand, regular consumption of alcohol can also affect the quantity and quality of your sleep, because it tends to interrupt your sleep cycle. When you take alcohol, you are likely to fall asleep very fast. However, that alcohol will not only make you wake up several times to go to the toilet, but it will also make you have shallow sleep. What’s more, consuming too much alcohol can contribute to abnormal dream patterns, or periods, as well as waking up too early, thus interrupting your sleep.
You’re probably wondering how eating heavily before bedtime affects your sleep? Well, the reason you shouldn’t eat or drink heavily just before going to bed is because your metabolism rate tends to increase, which can prevent you from falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.
Depression, for instance, tends to be a cause for chronic sadness, suicidal thoughts, and lose of interest in activities you once loved. All these factors can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. So, it is important that you seek professional counseling or get drugs so that you can reduce the symptoms. What’s more, to sleep well, it is imperative that you deal with the common triggers of depression such as anxiety and stress by exercising and through meditation, for example.
Sleeping too much in the course of the day, or in the afternoon can have a disruptive effect on your sleep at night. So, in order to sleep well at night, you may want to avoid having late afternoon naps, or sleeping for more than 30 minutes during the day.
Before going to bed, it is important that you create time for your brain to rest. This helps to quiet any worrying thoughts, as well as anxiety that you would not be able to deal with if you engage in too many activities just before bed. You can listen to some music, read a book, or take a warm bath, for example. This can improve your sleep because you are more likely to associate such activities with bedtime more so if you do them each and every night.
If you consistently use sleeping pills, as well as other sleeping aids in order to fall asleep, it is important that you avoid them. When you rely on prescription sleeping pills, for instance, your body tends to become accustomed to the pills, which means that you cannot sleep without them.
At times you might not be able to sleep because your thoughts are racing with things you need to do. Therefore, a to do list helps to ensure that you jot down anything that you will want to do or remember when you wake up the following day, to be specific. In other words, writing down things you need to do helps to ensure that you don’t keep worrying about forgetting what you need to do, which helps you to sleep soundly.
Having adequate sleep is very essential to your psychological, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing.
Taking some of the above steps will help you to overcome your restless nights. You’ll no longer have to lie awake, tossing and turning at night. You’ll no longer be stressed and anxious the next day concerned that you didn’t sleep enough. You’ll no longer accumulate a chronic sleep debt.
Wake up to the morning full of energy, ready to face whatever the day brings.
Matt is a trained and licenced Mindfulness teacher and Stress and Anxiety Reduction Counsellor operating in and around the Peterborough area. After overcoming his own stress and anxiety he's found his purpose teaching others to do the same.
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