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Best practices for sleep deprived individuals – words Alexa Wang
Sleep deprivation is not getting enough sleep for your body. Most people think of sleep deprivation as a technique, like those used in torture or cults to control people. But sleep deprivation is very common, especially in today’s busy society. You can easily suffer from sleep deprivation by staying up too late, getting up too early, or not getting the quality of sleep your body needs to be healthy.
Effects of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is about more than just being tired during the day. If you aren’t getting the sleep and rest you need, especially over a long period of time, there are serious effects on your mind and body. Some of the effects of sleep deprivation include:
- heart problems, including arrhythmia, heart disease or heart attack
- memory problems
- cognitive problems
- increased stress
- mood changes
- mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
Your body needs sleep to be healthy. That means if you’re not getting enough sleep, your body can’t function properly. These are just some of the serious health problems that can occur if you suffer from sleep deprivation.
Getting better sleep
The best way to combat the effects of sleep deprivation is to simply get the right sleep. That means making sure your body is getting enough sleep every night and that it’s good quality sleep. The two best ways to ensure you’re getting better sleep is to establish sleep-friendly habits and establish a sleep-friendly environment.
Establish sleep-friendly habits
Your lifestyle, including during the day, can impact your sleep at night. You can make changes to your habits to help promote better sleep at night.
Here are some things to think about if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation:
Look at what you’re eating (and drinking)
Your diet has a big impact on your the way your body functions, including your sleep patterns. Eating healthy is a good way to improve your health and help make sure you’re getting the sleep you need. Along with a healthy diet, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. And even though alcohol may make you sleepy, your body becomes more alert when the alcohol is metabolized in your body, even if it’s the middle of the night. You should also avoid eating too close to bedtime so your body has time to digest before you go to sleep.
Look at your activity levels
Your activity levels can have an impact on how well you sleep, too. Regular exercise is good for you to keep your body healthy. It’s also useful to help you sleep at night. When you exercise, you get rid of stress and release feel-good hormones, which helps your body relax more naturally. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime. Your body needs time to cool down and relax so you can fall asleep.
Train your brain with light
Your body’s circadian rhythms are designed to react to natural light. Your body wants to be awake when there’s light (during the day) and sleep when it’s dark (during the night). Unfortunately, electric lights have changed this trigger in our lives. Having too much light too close to bedtime can confuse the signals to your body so that you’re not ready to sleep when it’s time to lay down. Try to keep light levels close to the sleep and wake patterns that you want so you can sleep better at night.
Establish strict bedtime and wake-up routines
According to Ally Olson from VisionBedding, a simple but consistent night time routine like reading, washing your face, or showering can signal to your body that it is time for sleep. The body thrives on routine. When you have specific routines at bedtime and in the morning when you wake up, your body will get used to the patterns every day. That will make it easier to go to bed when it’s time and wake up when your alarm goes off in the morning so that you’ll sleep better at night.
Establish a sleep-friendly environment
Along with what you do, where you sleep can impact the quality and length of sleep you get every night. That’s why it’s important to create an environment that helps you sleep better at night.
Here are some things you can do to create a more sleep-friendly environment for yourself.
Your bedroom is for sleep only
One way that people can disturb their own sleep patterns is by doing things other than sleeping in their bedrooms. If you use your bedroom to watch TV, play games, work, or anything else, your brain won’t think about sleep when you get into bed. By keeping your bedroom for sleep only, your brain will associate the space with sleep and start to relax naturally when you get settled for bed. You should also make sure your bedroom is comfortable.
Keep your room quiet and dark
Remove any electronics (especially TV) from your room. If there’s a lot of light from outside, consider getting light-blocking curtains in your room to help keep it darker. When your room is quiet and dark, your body will naturally associate it with sleeping, so it will be easier for you to fall asleep and get a better quality sleep at night.
Check the temperature of your room
You sleep better when your room is on the cool side. It helps your natural body temperature fall as you start to fall asleep. If your room is too warm, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, which can lead to sleep deprivation.
Even minor sleep deprivation can have a big impact and effect on your overall health and well-being. Fortunately, there are things you can do that can improve your sleep length and quality. That way, you can do what you need to during the day without worrying about falling asleep in the middle of a big meeting!