Everyone treasures the refreshing and rejuvenating effects of sleep. Without adequate sleep, staying awake and engaging in meaningful activities during the day will be extremely difficult.
You may have experienced sleeplessness at some point in life. If so, you are not alone. Unexpected challenges, relationship problems, pressure at work or family take their toll on sleep. That is why, difficulty in sleeping is one of the most common health problems. Indeed, up to a third of hospital complaints involve some form of difficulty in sleeping.
It is well known that getting a good night’s rest depends on several factors. For instance, it is easier to sleep in a quiet, warm and cosy environment than in loud, cold and noisy place.
How much sleep do you really need? Most adults need between 6-8 hours every day while children need much more depending on the age.
To determine if you are getting enough sleep, consider the following: Does sleeping occur with ease? Are you alert and able to concentrate when awake? Do you wake up naturally at about the same time each day? Do you return to sleep quickly when it is disrupted? If your answer is No to any of these questions, you may need to work harder at achieving a healthful sleeping pattern.
To improve your sleep, consider taking these practical steps:
Have a regular pattern of going to bed
Do you endeavor to go to bed at about the same time every night? Having a consistent bedtime facilitates the onset of sleep and ensures you sleep long enough to be fully refreshed. This is because your body regulates its internal clock based on the time you go to bed and daylight hours among other factors. So, not having a regular schedule sends confusing signals to the body. As a result, you may find yourself struggling to stay awake or dozing off at odd times of the day or night.
Depending on your circumstances, you may find it easier to maintain consistent bedtimes during the week. However, are you tempted to spend more time in bed on weekends and holidays when you are not likely under pressure? Although, this may be a way of making up for inadequate sleep during the week, it may also contribute to sleeplessness. This is one reason shift workers, long distance drivers and travelers commonly experience sleep-related problems.
Establish a quiet and relaxing sleep area
Having a cool, dark and quiet bedroom is ideal for sleep. As bedtime approaches, you should avoid activities that generally stimulate or challenge you mentally and physically. If possible, keep out other activities like TV viewing, use of gadgets and eating. Instead of these stimulating activities, wind down by engaging in relaxing hobbies e.g. reading, listening to soothing music. Do you reside close to the street or noisy areas? This may also interfere with with sleeping. Therefore, consider using ear plugs or white noise to mask the sounds.
If you are physically active during the day, chances are you will get a good night’s rest. Moderate and vigorous exercises about 3 times weekly will help you stay fit and get better sleep. These exercises should be done during the day and avoided near bedtime. The only exception to physical activity before bedtime is sex. Apart from other health benefits, studies show that sex before bedtime promotes sleep. This is probably because it unleashes a number of stress bursting hormones.
Avoid a lifestyle that impairs sleep
Alcohol, tobacco and stimulants (energy drinks, caffeine etc.) generally contribute to poor sleeping pattern and should be avoided if possible. Eating close to bedtime or taking a heavy meal may affect your sleeping pattern. Sleep slows down digestive processes. So, undigested food may contribute to reflux or build of gastric acid while asleep. This may cause pain which may repeatedly interrupt your sleeping pattern. So, one of the great benefits of cultivating a healthier lifestyle is refreshing sleep.
Get medical help if sleep-related problem persists
A good number of serious health conditions are associated with sleep. Common ones include depression, anxiety, stress, dementia and obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. In view of this, you may need additional evaluation and specific treatment for these underlying conditions.
Inadequate sleep is associated with several health challenges such as poor concentration, daytime sleepiness, memory Impairment, poor mental health and accidents. So taking additional these steps to enjoying a good night’s sleep is worthwhile.
Have you ever been awake, perhaps tossing and turning while others are asleep? No doubt, you will agree that this is really an unpleasant experience. Sleep allows us to be awake and alert during the day. You may be able to deal with sleeplessness by taking these practical steps.
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