Do you constantly have enough sleep? Let us find out first the benefits of sleeping and some behavioral changes related to it along with some sleeping facts and sleeping equipment.
Do you have some sleeping difficulty? Do you experience it once in a while? While this may be inconvenient, it’s often temporary.
When occasional sleepless nights turn into a regular occurrence of many nights in a row with interrupted sleep, you might have a sleeping problem.
When you don’t get enough sleep for an extended period of time your tiredness impacts every part of your life.
Physically, you might notice a decrease in your productivity and daily activities.
Emotionally, you may experience relationship problems or a change in your personality.
Mentally, a chronic sleep problem can create stress and anxiety.
There are three categories of sleep deprivation and insomnia.
The first stage, called “initial” insomnia, is when you first realize you’re having difficulty achieving a sleep state and occurs when it takes longer than a half an hour to fall asleep.
“Middle” insomnia is when you have difficulty staying asleep. Once awakened, you stay awake until the wee hours of the morning.
The most severe level of insomnia is “late” or “terminal” insomnia. This is when you wake up early in the morning and stay awake after sleeping less than 6 hours.
There are a variety of reasons that you may be having trouble sleeping. If your insomnia is due to a medical condition, your doctor will be able to provide you with suggestions and appropriate medical attention.
On the other hand, if your sleep difficulties are occurring because you are stuck in a cycle of sleepless nights, or your insomnia is due to your inability to reach a state of inner peace needed to achieve sleep, this article is for you.
What’s So Good About Sleep Anyway?
Finding time to sleep in our busy schedules is extremely important for our health and wellbeing. Most people push the boundaries when it comes to sleep.
We restrict the time we allow for sleep, going to bed progressively later as we try to fit in the many different jobs that need completion each day. We underestimate the importance of sleep.
Without adequate sleep, our bodies will react, and those important schedules we put off sleep to achieve will be affected eventually.
It’s only recently that we have begun to fully understand just how much our body needs sleep to function properly.
Most of the body’s normal activities rely on us having a regular sleep and an interrupted sleep pattern is a significant stress on our bodies.
Our nervous system, our digestive system and the ability of our body to repair itself are all dependent on our sleep cycles being consistent and regular.
When we deprive our body of sleep, we inhibit our brain’s ability to make a decision. Our emotional responses to situations may be compromised, and even how we interact socially may be affected.
Sleep is as necessary for our health like eating and drinking. It has long been recognized that sleep deprivation is an effective torture tool.
Experiments using rats have revealed that their life expectancy is significantly reduced when they are sleep deprived under experimental conditions.
How much sleep a person needs is dependent on factors such as age and gender. Pregnant women. for example, may require more sleep than a non-pregnant woman of the same age group.
A child may require more sleep than an adult. However, an older adult generally requires less sleep than a younger adult.
The amount of sleep an individual need is fairly consistent with their age group. A typical adult will require approximately 7-9 hours of sleep a night to maintain optimum health and performance.
If we reduce that amount of sleep time over a series of nights, our body will eventually react and we need to make up that time, usually in what is termed as a “sleep in”.
However, even though we know we will sleep in on the weekend, our performance during the working week may be severely affected by our lack of sleep.
If we find ourselves excessively yawning during the day, or finding it difficult to remember simple details or make simple judgment calls correctly, it is possible we are suffering from sleep deprivation.
People take micro sleep where they lose consciousness for very short periods of time without realizing it, leading to potentially dangerous situations.
Many road deaths and incidents at work have been directly traced to insufficient sleep the night before. With so many serious side effects and consequences of not sleeping, we should all be ensuring we schedule adequate sleep into our daily lives.
Behavioral Changes for Healthy Sleep Habits
It is essential that your brain has consistency by creating a bedtime schedule so that your body can learn how to fall asleep without medication.
Create a sleep strategy to determine the best routine, and plan to follow the routine for one to two weeks before making any alterations.
Your sleep strategy should include:
- A regular bedtime
- A consistent wake time
- A record of any natural supplements you have tried
- Routine activities that are not stimulating such as brushing your teeth or reading
Moving through a regular bedtime process will signal to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep. The desired end result of having a sleep strategy is regular sleep that’s restful and refreshing.
Plan to get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, and don’t allow yourself to oversleep. If you wake up the same time every day you’ll establish a routine.
Avoid naps during the day because your body will be confused, and it will interrupt your sleep pattern. You can’t bank extra hours of sleep, and trying to sleep later in the morning to make up for sleep lost overnight will leave you feeling tired.
In addition to a regular bedtime schedule, it is important to make your bedroom a place that is conducive to sleep.
The more comfortable and relaxing your sleep space is, the better your chances for falling asleep and staying asleep.
Consider these tips when creating your relaxing sleep atmosphere:
Get rid of all annoyances and interruptions.
Control the room temperature. Cooler air (between 65 and 70 degrees F) is typically more comfortable for sleep, however, set the temperature to your preference.
Allow for room ventilation, if possible. Crack a window slightly to allow for air flow. The circulating fresh air will help you breathe deeply, and provide oxygen that is essential for good sleep.
Use ear plugs if there are noises outside the bedroom. There are many types of plugs that are specifically for sleeping, so if, at first, you don’t find the perfect pair, try another.
Mask noises with a white noise machine if you decide to not wear earplugs. Machines are designed specifically for this purpose, or you can use a fan or air conditioner to provide the background noise. This will hide background sounds such as traffic or a barking dog.
Try using an MP3 player to play soothing background music.
Your circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock, relies on light and dark patterns to determine when to signal your body to fall asleep. Keep your room as dark as possible to help your body settle into a sleep state. Use mini-blinds and thick curtains to block light from windows. Try wearing an eye mask to block any remaining light.
Having a clock by your bedside might be adding to your sleep problem. If you are watching the clock all night long, face it toward the wall so that you can’t see the time. Constantly looking at the clock only makes you think about sleep, and lack of sleep, which continues the cycle of sleeplessness.
Consider a room humidifier for winter months when the air is dry.
Use your room only for sleeping. Remove the TV, computer, stereo. Your mind should associate your bedroom only with sleep.
Wear the most comfortable clothing you own. Non-constrictive clothing won’t wake you in the middle of the night.
As you can see here, there are many different tips to try to help you sleep better. Each individual has their own unique combination of elements that make up their perfect sleep environment.
Significant to the sleep environment is the equipment used when sleeping. Sleep equipment includes the pillow, bedding, mattress, and sleep clothes.
Your mattress should be smooth and firm so that your back is well-supported and your body is comfortable when lying down. Make sure the mattress is supported completely by the bed frame to avoid sagging.
The mattress should also be appropriately sized for your body. Make sure you have a big enough bed so that you have enough space. If you have a single or double bed, consider buying a larger queen or king sized mattress.
Use whatever style and type of pillow you find most comfortable. It doesn’t matter what it’s made of as long as it provides you with neck and head support.
The sheets and blankets should be clean and pressed. If you do not like feeling tucked in, loosen the sheets so that your feet can move around freely.
To find the right temperature for you, experiment with different blankets of a variety of weights and materials. Since a cool room is most conducive to sleep, keep the lower temperature in mind when selecting bedding.
Find a sleep position that is comfortable for you and lay in that position so that your body knows it’s time for sleep. Whether it is lying on your back, on your side, or on your stomach, your favorite position will help you instantly get relaxed.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
What’s So Good About Sleep Anyway?
- Most of the body’s normal activities rely on having a regular sleep .
- The nervous system, digestive system and the ability of of the body to repair itself are all dependent on your sleep cycles being consistent and regular.
Behavioral Changes for Healthy Sleep Habits
- Habits at Bedtime
- Sleep Environment
- Sleep Equipment
– Do you always have enough sleep?
– Do you have some difficulty sleeping?
– Do you have a good sleeping habits?
– Do you have a conducive sleeping place?
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