If you feel that your circumstances are an exception when it comes to getting some quality shut-eye, realize that sleep disorders are on the rise. It is estimated that nearly 75% of adult Americans claim to experience sleep disorder symptoms at least a few nights per week. Is this truly some type of new health epidemic that needs medical attention, or do we just fail to find our own sleep important enough to make a stronger effort?
This may come off as old hat, but yes – sleep is still important!
It is essential to start or get back on track with a sleep schedule by primarily figuring out exactly what is the underlying cause of you not receiving enough sleep. Your body must be handled with care. It is a detailed, machine which changes over time in order to adapt to our surroundings. In current times, our culture pushes the limit to work at all hours until we are run down. Our bodies have not yet shifted to handle less sleep. It does not look like we will evolve to this change in this lifetime. Your body needs its rest!
Here’s what happens when you do not get enough sleep: It is easy to notice the most common side effects. You feel exhausted being the next day and are generally irritable. Your body and muscles tend to feel sore. Sleep deprivation also has many more side effects that are not as noticeable.
A bad attitude or yawning are commonly associated with sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation also heightens your risk of heart disease, increases your memory loss, makes you more susceptible to diabetes as well as obesity, and makes you more prone to depression or even other mental illness. These are only a few of the effects sleep deprivation has. A study was shared that really showed how sleep deprivation is similar to being intoxicated.
Most bosses would be unhappy if we showed up drunk to work every day. It’s quite funny because we act as if sleep deprivation is a normal part of working. Sleep is one of the most important parts of your body’s routine. Depriving yourself of sleep is the same as running a machine with no time for preventative care or maintenance repairs. This happens all the time, but at some point, there will be a malfunction!
What Can You Do?
Don’t sleep with the lights on! – Exposing yourself to a lot of light keeps you awake. It seems so easy, but it is just as easy to forget a light is on! Your body is calibrated to sense bright light and to wake you up. Get some rest when it is dark! If you shine a bright light at someone’s face before going to bed, you’re communicating to your body that it’s time to get up and be alert. Even if have to use a computer or mobile device late at night, you can turn down the screen brightness counteract the effect of the light and put some ease on your eyes.
Change your body temperature accordingly! – Your body will slowly decrease in temperature as you fall asleep. You can actually trick your body by recreating this shift in temperature. In the colder months, you can take a nice, hot shower or a bath later in the day. Then, the temperature of your body will increase and finally, decrease as you cool down from the shower which should make you more tired. This creates the necessary shift in temperature to help you fall asleep.
Don’t drink alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant and this means it should only assist you in going to sleep. However, it depresses your entire system, even your metabolism. In a study, alcoholics have reported not having any dreams because it actually disrupts your body from entering REM. REM is a crucial phase during sleep for the brain and body to function.
Determine your sleep needs – How much sleep does your body actually need? Do you actually know how many hours your body needs to get its rest? Are you able to get up when the alarm goes off or do you actually wake up beforehand? The only way to find out is by going to bed earlier than normally would. Slowly adjust your bedtime by 15 minutes every couple of days until you begin to wake up on your own. When you wake up on time consistently, you’ve found your most optimal sleep schedule.
Clean out your bedroom – Remove all bothersome electronics including computers and TVs. It is too easy to get distracted. You should not even read reports or balance a chequebook in bed. Your bedroom should be a relaxing place to sleep. If you have a television in your bedroom that you do not use, don’t worry about removing it. However, if you’re always watching tv in bed, you should consider removing it.
Don’t go crazy – If you don’t drink coffee late at night, you shut down your computer early, you made sure to bring the TV down to the basement, you sleep with earplugs in and eliminated any bothersome light, but it’s 12 AM and you’re unable to sleep. Don’t get frustrated! Rather than reading a book, consider stretching, looking through photos, or find another boring activity that can keep you entertained, but is also relaxing. Don’t watch television, play video games, or overstimulate your brain into thinking it is time to get up. If you are still wide awake, you should do more exercise during the week to tire your body out.
Wake Up! – Getting up in the morning shouldn’t be agonizing. Set a daily routine! Eventually, you should be able to wake up without an alarm. Not needing an obnoxious alarm each morning is a little victory in itself!
Stick to it! – Everyone’s routine is a little different based on the individual. Your routine may include not drinking coffee after 3 PM, turning down the lights at your home around 7 PM, and even reading in bed for 20 minutes right at 9 PM before it’s time to shut the lights off—or maybe it’s none of these things. It is important to find a routine that works best for you and your schedule. No matter what routine you choose, stick to it! Also, stick to it for some time to see if it actually is effective and modify it slowly. Change one thing at a time if it is not working out.
Account for any lack of sleep – Sometimes a lack of sleep is absolutely unavoidable. In most cases, we foresee an event coming up that will cut into our sleep cycle. If you know you’re going to lose sleep or be up extra late, take a nap in the afternoon. Don’t worry because short term sleep deprivation can be easily fixed with adequate rest. Don’t just let a weekend throw off your schedule for the month when you stay up late or when you sleep in.
Here at iScripts, we believe business owners and entrepreneurs need to pay extra close attention to how you treat yourself also. We want you to succeed and stay healthy. Enjoy your holiday season and know when to take it easy!