You’re stressed, you’ve got too much to do, and when your head hits the pillow sleep is the last thing your brain is letting you do.
Sound familiar? I suffer from struggling to sleep a lot, mainly because I get so worried about just about everything!
Nearly one-third of American workers gets less than six hours of sleep a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here in the US.
To maximise our health, we should be getting a recommended amount of seven to eight hours shut eye a night.
While many of us think: “no problem I can power on through”, there are long term effects if you are sleep deprived.
Snoozing has a critical role in helping our immunity, metabolism, memory and learning work to their best.
In fact if you are lucky, skipping on sleep can at the very least cause issues with your productivity.
And the worst?
It can increase the risk of developing serious medical conditions, which include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and mood disorders.
Five ways to combat sleep deprivation and get healthy sleeping habits
Some strategies for fighting sleep deprivation have been shared by Dr. Travis Bradberry, who has a PhD in clinical psychology and is the co-founder of emotional intelligence testing and training company TalentSmart.
He shared them in a LinkedIn post recently.
Here are five to get you into some good sleeping habits.
1. Keep caffeine to the morning
That cup of coffee is great in the morning but then if you want some shut eye, don’t touch it.
Dr Bradberry says: “Caffeine has a 6-hour half-life, which means it takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system.
“Have a cup of Joe at 8 a.m., and you’ll still have 25 percent of the caffeine in your body at 8 p.m.
“Anything you drink after noon will still be near 50 percent strength at bedtime.”
So stay away after midday if you want to get some ‘z’s’ in.
2. Stay away from the phone at night
I know this will sound like social media suicide to some of you: ‘What I can’t check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram before I got to bed?!
‘What if Kim Kardashian has posted another Snapchat?!’
Unfortunately the soft short-wavelength blue light emanating from your phone screen, halts the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.
This goes for laptops as well.
Dr Bradberry advises: “The best thing you can do is avoid these devices after dinner.”
3. Wake up at the same time every day
A schedule is key to getting your body into the rhythm of things when it comes to sleep.
Having worked a nightmare shift pattern of day to night switches myself at one point in my life, I know how hard this can sometimes be to do.
But keep your wake up time consistent if you can.
A regular wake-up time helps your brain to gradually increase your hormone levels, body temperature, and blood pressure roughly an hour before you get up.
Dr Bradberry warns: “When you don’t wake up at the same time every day, your brain doesn’t know when to complete the sleep process and when it should prepare you to be awake.”
He adds: “Sleeping in on the weekend is a counterproductive way to catch up on your sleep.”
So no lay-ins on a Sunday people!
4. Don’t take sedatives
It’s so tempting to pop a pill when you just can’t stop those trains from running through your head, but they cause more harm than good when it comes to sleep.
Dr Bradberry reveals: “Anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has dire consequences for sleep quality.
“Whether it’s alcohol, Nyquil, Benadryl, Valium, Ambien, these substances disrupt your brain’s natural sleep process.”
If you have been taking sedatives to switch off, scale back gradually.
5. Nap it off
I am sure some of you get that post lunch-time feeling when you just can’t keep your eyes open.
This has a lot to do with your melatonin levels surging.
Between the hours of 1pm and 3pm is usually when this happens.
No problem arises if you have had enough sleep.
But a lack of z’s can lead to you dozing off.
A quick fix if you can is to take a short nap of even 15 minutes.
Dr Bradberry says: “Companies like Google and Zappos are capitalizing on this need giving employees the opportunity to take short afternoon naps.”
Whatever you do, don’t drink caffeine.
You’ll just be lying awake staring at the ceiling again when you try to doze off.
Are you feeling like you look 90 years old not 40 due to lack of sleep?
Slap this on and you’ll look 7.5 years younger in 12 weeks!
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