Everyone has a night or two where they don’t get the appropriate 7-9 hours of sleep. You could be stressed, your fussy newborn keeps you awake, or maybe you just can’t get comfortable in bed. However, when that one or two nights turn into a pattern, this is where your health becomes compromised. Lack of sleep causes weight gain, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, a lowered sex drive, a weakened immune system, and it increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
When you’re deprived of sleep for a long period of time, it can lead to a condition known as insomnia. If you have experienced any of the above-mentioned symptoms, or have been unable to get to sleep for the past week, it is best you go to a doctor.
After ensuring that there are no other medical conditions that need to be addressed, your doctor will prescribe a sleep aid to help calm your nerves. Just be sure not to abuse the medication, as is what often happens with sleep aids like Ambien. Patients use it to go to sleep, the medicine wears off in the middle of the night, so they take more. They develop a dependency, and when they try to quit, they suffer from Ambien withdrawal, a problem the experts at Windward Way can help with.
Quick Hacks for Better Sleep
Along with seeing your doctor and potentially taking prescribed sleep aids to get a good night’s sleep, there are some steps you can take on your own to get better sleep every night. Below is a look at a few quick hacks:
Dim the Lights
Bright lights trick the brain into believing you should be awake. A simple solution, therefore, would be to dim the lights when you’re ready to wind down for the night. This will put your mind in a relaxed state, making it easier to fall asleep.
Jot it Down
Sometimes you can’t sleep because your mind is too busy thinking about all you have going on. A great way to calm the mind would be to start writing things down. Start a journal in which you write down any fears, worries, or tasks that are stuck in your mind. Leave them there until you wake in the morning.
Turn Off the News
Though most people know that going to bed with your electronic devices can keep you up at night, they don’t realize that the very things they watch before bed could be keeping them awake. Take, for instance, the news. It is often packed with negative, sad, and even depressing information that can cause stress and anxiety. Watching this just before bed could have you on edge, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. If you must watch something before bed, make it something positive and upbeat.
Another way to focus your mind on positive things for a better night’s sleep is to meditate. When you’re focused on taking deep breaths in and pushing out the negativity with every exhale, you slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, and make it easier to get to sleep. There are plenty of meditation applications you can download or videos you can follow along with online.
Listen to an AudioBook
You’re never too old to listen to a bedtime story to get you to sleep. Though mom and dad aren’t likely going to come over every night and read to you, you can download your favorite audiobooks and have someone else read to you. Again, just be sure that the content you’re listening to is positive in nature.
Have a Cup of Tea
Though drinking a cup of coffee or alcohol before bed will keep you up, sipping on a soothing herbal tea can put you right out. After you’ve taken a shower, make yourself a nice cup of chamomile tea. It helps to calm the nerves and relax the body, which can often help you fall fast asleep.
As life continues to get more hectic, people are losing more and more sleep. Sleep deprivation and/or insomnia can have grave consequences if not corrected. From concentration and memory problems to frequent colds and an increased risk of life-threatening diseases, this isn’t something you want to take lightly. Talk with your doctor to come up with a comprehensive plan to help you get more shut-eye while also using the life hacks provided above.