Everyone wants to live healthier and feel better! We spend our hard-earned money and precious time to fill our diets with the healthiest foods and commit to rigorous exercise regimens. We seek out cleaning and beauty products with ingredients we can pronounce and avoid toxins in our environments. But one thing even the most health-conscious among us neglect is ensuring we get enough quality sleep to perform at our own personal peaks. Whether it’s sleepless nights with new babies, long hours at work, or just your latest Netflix binge, it feels like there’s always something coming between you and the ever-important rest your body needs. Sleep deprivation affects our lives in a variety of ways - none of them positive! Lack of proper rest makes it difficult to focus and can lead to headaches, depression, weight gain, and a variety of other chronic conditions. Learning how to combat sleep deprivation should be at the very top of your health goals!
How to Sleep Better
Signs of Sleep Deprivation
None of these are symptoms are pleasant. They often cannot be combated with your typical daily caffeine intake and attempting to increase that intake can cause a cycle of poor sleep that can be difficult to stop.
If sleep deprivation continues over an extended period of time, you may experience hallucinations, impulsive behavior, anxiety, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.
Other Effects of Sleep Deprivation
- Memory Issues
- Mood Changes
- Weakened Immune System
- Risk for Diabetes
- Low Sex Drive
- Difficulty Concentrating
- High Blood Pressure
- Weight Gain
- Risk of Heart Disease
- Higher Risk of Accidents
- Poor Balance
What Causes Sleep Deprivation?
- Personal choice: Maybe you just don’t realise how important quality sleep is - or you simply don’t prioritize sleep.
- Illness: Often, colds and upper-respiratory illnesses make it difficult to sleep
- Work: those who work shifts that change regularly can have trouble building a sleep/waking cycle.
- Sleep Disorder: Sleep apnea is a common condition, affecting over 100 million people worldwide.
- Medications: Many drugs used to treat other disorders can cause insomnia
- Sleep Environment: Noisy neighbors, snoring partners, and other factors can lead to disrupted sleep.
- Poor Sleep Hygiene: Routines like smoking and eating too close to bedtime can cause disruptions in sleep cycles.
- Babies and Toddlers: No surprise here! If you’re caring for children who don’t sleep through the night, you don’t sleep through the night either.
How to Fight Sleep Deprivation
Limit or Eliminate Daytime Naps
We know… we know… Naps. Are. LIFE. And it can be so hard to resist that comfy, cozy bed or soft, plush sofa after a long day of school or work. But, in order to sleep better at night and have an overall better quality sleep cycle, cutting naps is crucial.
Avoid Caffeine After Noon
We aren’t saying you can’t have an afternoon mocha or latte delight. Just try it without the caffeine! We promise, you won’t even taste the difference. But you’ll feel a difference when you aren’t lying in bed, counting sheep or ceiling tiles for hours on end.
Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Night
Routines and sleep go hand-in-hand. Your body runs on a cycle - and it likes to know what’s coming next.
Wake Up at the Same Time Every Morning
You can still sleep in on your off-days! But, if you are in the habit of waking up at a similar time each day, your body can adjust to a schedule for sleep and waking time.
Stick to Your Bedtime Schedule on Weekends and Holidays
No work or school tomorrow? Sure, watch one or two more episodes of your favorite show. But avoid changing your bedtime by drastic amounts, like several hours. It can be hard for your body and mind to adjust back to “normal” cycle, and you may find yourself overly fatigued come Monday and into the week.
Spend One Hour Before Bed Doing Relaxing Activities
Reading, meditating, or taking a nice long bath can help you wind down for sleep. You’ll spend less time with your mind racing after lying down and rest better if you prepare yourself for sleep.
But not just before bed! Exercise does wonders for your mind and body - and triggers the hormones that promote healthy sleep.
Improve Your Sleeping Environment
Light-blocking curtains, a sound machine, an essential oil diffuser with scents such as lavender and sandalwood… All of these additions to your bedroom can help improve your sleep, and your overall well-being. You’ll find yourself sleeping more deeply in a dark, cool room and relaxing background noises can drown out distracting sounds and help calm your mind.
Avoid Screen Time Before Bed
Keep your bedroom TV, laptop, and tablet-free to promote healthy sleep patterns.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
The blue light emanating from our computers, tablets, and cell phones can lead to trouble sleeping, as well as other health problems. Wearing blue light filtering glasses can combat these problems and protect your eyes from damage. Find fashionable blue light filtering glasses here.
We hope you’ll give at least one or two of these tips a try. Sleep deprivation is something billions of people struggle with, and we like our friends bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and feeling great!