As promised, here is what I had intended to post about tonight! 😉
This is a condensed version of an article by the same title that I wrote for MIKA Magazine earlier this year (you can visit MIKA Magazine online here). I hope that you find this post interesting and helpful!
Sleep is something many of us take for granted. It allows our minds and bodies rest and down time, and it is during sleep when many cell renewal and hormonal release processes take place. In recent years, studies have even suggested that due to such processes, lack of sleep can influence weight gain! If we do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, our short term memory, concentration, and also physical abilities and coordination can be affected. For example, some research indicates that the impact of a lack of sleep on one’s ability to drive can be similar to that of someone who attempts to drive after having had several alcoholic drinks!
People’s need for sleep varies. On average, however, approximately 8 hours a night is sufficient. Many of us are lucky enough to manage this each night, but others can struggle, even when going to bed early enough to allow 8 hours of sleep.
So how can we get enough sleep? Here are 5 tips to help:
Make an effort to go to bed and wake up at the same time most, if not all, days of the week. This helps the body to keep its natural rhythm (technically called the “circadian rhythm”) on track. Exposing yourself to sunlight after awakening (e.g. by opening your bedroom curtains and letting in natural light) also helps with this process.
Watch your caffeine intake
People can have different levels of sensitivity to caffeine. To promote a good night’s sleep, avoid all caffinated drinks (coffee, black tea, cola, etc) after dinner. If you find that you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, reducing your consumption further may be necessary.
Lay off the alcohol!
Some believe that having an alcoholic drink, or several, helps them get to sleep. However, studies have found that alcohol consumption before bed has a negative impact upon sleep quality and can lead to more awakenings in the night.
Use your bed wisely
Avoid being on or in your bed when watching television, playing video games, studying, using the telephone, or doing any other mentally stimulating activity. Doing such activities in or on your bed can lead to your mind making a subconscious association between bed and activity, rather than bed and sleep, which makes it harder to fall asleep in that location. Reserve your bed for sleep and sexual activity only; move other activities to different areas of your room and/or home.
Know what to do when you wake up in the night and cannot get back to sleep
Often it is tempting to remain in bed and watch the clock when unable to get back to sleep. However, if you do not fall back into sleep within 5-10 minutes of awakening, try getting out of bed for 10 to 15 minutes and do a quiet activity, such as working on a jigsaw puzzle, drawing, knitting, or reading. You can also try out relaxation strategies such as controlled breathing or meditation. Return back to bed after the amount of time has passed or earlier if you are beginning to feel sleepy. Repeat as many times as needed.
If you are having troubles sleeping, why not give these tips a try? If difficulties persist, speak to your Doctor/General Practitioner. I will talk more about relaxation and meditation – and tips on how to do these – in a future post! 🙂
Let me know what you think of this post peeps! x