Elisa Spence's Blog
If you’re in college and studying for exams, or if you have a new baby, you might be experiencing sleep deprivation at a level you’ve never felt before. In general, though, many people operate in a state of sleep deprivation on a regular basis. The challenge with that is it reduces your ability to fight off anything else life throws at you.
In addition to lack of sleep, if you’re also not eating well, working too hard, under stress, and not getting exercise, that lack of sleep can compound the damage from all these other things.
Chronic sleep-deprivation causes your stress hormones to elevate and over time may lead to anxiety, depression, weight gain, hypertension, digestive problems, headaches, dizziness, irritability, immune dysfunction, and even stroke.
You don’t want any of these, so what do you need to do? Get more sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine. Since you've been pushing your body to stay awake beyond its tired point, you now need to teach it when it's time to wind down. To do that you need to establish a routine. Some people change into night clothes and then have a warm drink (non-caffeinated), and others perform nightly hygiene such as brushing their teeth and washing their face.
- Adjust the lights. If you’re using screens, turn them off or have them adjusting to a nighttime level using f.lux or another program. Use fewer lights and particularly lamps with softer light bulbs in them.
- Reduce the noise level. If you're playing loud music or watching an action flick, switch to something softer and more soothing.
- Turn down the temperature. Most people sleep more deeply when it is a little cooler, so opt for about 64 degrees in your room. If you find it's a bit chilly, add another blanket instead of increasing the temperature.
- Use the restroom before you head to bed. This may go without saying but waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom disrupts your rest.
- In the same vein, don’t eat or drink too much before bedtime. Sometimes, if your body is busy digesting foods, it can get revved up and might disturb your sleep. If your blood sugar goes up and then drops quickly your heart can feel like it’s racing too, making falling asleep harder.
- Make your room as dark as possible. Use blackout curtains, and cover all of those pesky glowing lights from the various electronics in your room (except for the one on your fire alarm and smoke detector).
It the noises outside your home are keeping you awake, talk to your home professional about finding you a house in a quieter neighborhood.