Who doesn’t like to sleep in? We all enjoy the weekends when there are no alarms blaring in our ears to disrupt our nocturnal slumber. While not many can say they don’t like sleeping, far more can say they don’t get to do it as often as they should. In fact, according to a recent Gallup report, only 59 percent of Americans get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep on an average night.
We tend to overlook the importance of proper sleep. Rather than showing the world how grouchy we feel on the inside, it’s our responsibility to put on a happy face and fulfill our many responsibilities. However, there are more consequences than you likely realize. Just a few health consequences of sleep deprivation include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Over time, these health risks can pose bigger problems and even reduce your overall life expectancy. Therefore, it’s important to consider things you can do to ensure you make time for proper rest and relaxation.
Create New Habits
After a long day, we like to unwind, and we typically do this by engaging in relaxing activities that don’t require us to think much. Whether that be watching television or taking a walk around the block, we need this time. However, we can find ourselves over-indulging. After all, once we close our eyes, we are that much closer to waking up to face another day on the job.
Make it a point to start developing new habits that you’ll associate with bedtime. For example, run a hot bath an hour and a half before you lay down. You could also light candles and engage in quiet meditation or reading shortly before you retire for the night. Make sure you do this on a consistent basis. Over time, your body will begin to recognize that engagement in this activity means it’s time to start powering down.
Ensure Proper Comfort
Even if you get to bed eight hours before you need to start your day, that doesn’t mean you’ll actually fall asleep in time to get the rest you need. In fact, while is should only take 10 to 20 minutes to drift off, some can find themselves trying for hours to sleep. Sometimes this can be a sign of a sleep disorder, so consult a physician. Either way, however, there are some helpful tips to take advantage of to ensure your environment is offering optimal comfort including:
- Turn off all the lights
- Make sure televisions or other devices aren’t running in the background
- Use sound effects such as a soothing stream or white noise
- Seek out the best mattress protector for your bed that will prevent problems like dust mites, allergens, and sweat.
Watch Your Intake
You are what you eat, and this fact of life impacts you in far more ways than one. For example, if you drink lots of water before bed, you’ll likely find your sleep interrupted as you’ll need to get up to use the restroom. Furthermore, use of stimulants such as caffeine can make it difficult to fall asleep. In fact, even nicotine from cigarettes can hinder your ability to drift off when it’s time to do so.
It’s a good idea to avoid eating or drinking anything a few hours before retiring for the night. Also, while alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep, the fact remains that it hinders your ability to enjoy a restful sleep, and you’ll often wake up feeling more tired after 10 hours than you would after just five or six without alcohol.
Making the Most of Your One and Only Life
We only have one life to live, and it’s our responsibility to do what we can to ensure it’s a happy and comfortable one. It’s no doubt that people are busier than ever. Even though we have access to the most exciting technology in history, we have also opened ourselves up to the resultant increase in workload this inevitably creates.
Although it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a single day to get everything done, when you compromise on sleep, you do much more harm than good. Aside from the many health problems that can arise from sleep deprivation, you also suffer from:
- Decrease in attention span
- Trouble recalling information
- Difficulty attending to work or school duties
When you follow these helpful tips, you can better ensure you’re setting aside the proper amount of time to sleep and achieving the quality necessary to get through each and every day to your best ability.