Change restful nights to nights of rest
More often than not, night hours seem to whistle away at us and before we know it we are facing the dilemma that soon it will be time to get up, make a cup of coffee and get back to work. While at work we will vow, that tonight will be different, the night where you go to bed early, but it never happens.
Studies show that lack of sleep is caused by various factors, which can include a simple, hard to break bad habit of watching your favorite series, reading a good book or any other form of entertainment that can cause loosing track of time, there are however more serious elements at work in certain cases including insomnia, metabolic functions, depression and the list goes on.
Now while you are reading this you may be asking, so what if I miss a few hours of sleep? I feel fine the next day. Did you know that sleep is as essential to your body as food and water? It is the reset switch for your brain.
Although hard to believe, Human Beings have a bundle of neurons, which are in control of the “master clock” of our body, following the cycle called the Circadian Rhythm, which is mainly based on the light change in the environment.
There are 5 stages of sleep and in each stage, your brain is replenishing energy and storing memories. Essentially preparing for the next day.
So now that we know how vital sleep is, how can you possibly know if you’re not getting enough sleep?
Although some may seem rather obvious here are common symptoms:
- Abnormal irritability – Ever felt like telling your co-workers off first thing in the morning when they begin asking you about stuff before you have even sat down, come on we all have ;).
- Moodiness – Emotions all over the place, similar to a roller coaster ride.
- Impulsive behavior.
- Apathy – more precisely the lack of interest or concern to something that should normally captivate you.
- Severe lack of sleep can lead to nodding off for a short duration (9-10 seconds) which is referred to as micro-sleep and is a serious sign of you need to get some shut eye time pronto!
Well, I now understand that I need sleep but I can’t seem to be able to! Never fear, you are not alone in your nights of tossing and turning. In the struggle to find a good night’s rest, research has been pursued and thus there are indeed solutions!
- As tempting as it is to watch that last episode of a good series, leave it for another day. An essential part of a healthy lifestyle is to settle into a routine (sounds boring but trust in science), a routine encourages and supports your biological “mother” clock through going to sleep and waking up at more or less the same time.
- Avoid alcohol and heavy meals just before sleep, these may take time to be digested into the useful minerals that the body needs and exceptionally for rich foods can lead to heartburn which will keep you tossing and turning all night
- Exercise, now this doesn’t mean you have to be a fit freak, a simple jog around the block or a few sit-ups now and then throughout the day will be perfectly good, this helps tire your muscles which in turn send signals through your spine to your brain indicating that they need rest and thus, you will be more sleepy when you lay in bed.
- Try to avoid LED’s the last hour before going to sleep, things such as smartphones, television, computers and so forth. This light suppresses a chemical in your body called Melatonin and has a high chance of disrupting your sleep routine which you are busy planning to set up!
One important factor, studies show that it takes exactly 21 days to break a habit, so following these tips will not be instantaneous results, however, persevere and you will start seeing results not only in your performance but also in your happiness, as of course a stable sleeping routine leads to a healthier lifestyle.