Sleep - Make it better
You’re a busy person. Whether it’s with a full-time job, a house full of kids or both, you find it hard to get everything taken care of, never mind getting enough sleep. As our lives get busier we tend to ignore how important sleep really is for our bodies and overall health.
Here are some of the negative impacts due to a persistent and recurring lack of sleep:
- Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation.
- Moodiness and irritability. This can lead to an increased risk of depression.
- Relationship problems.
- Impaired brain activity. This can lead to learning, concentration, and memory problems.
- Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills. This can lead to an increased difficulty in making proper decisions.
- Inability to cope with stress and difficulty managing emotions.
- Premature skin aging.
- Weakened immune system. This can lead to frequent colds, infections and weight gain.
- Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents. This can lead to hallucinations and delirium.
- Increased risk of serious health problems including stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and certain cancers.
Even though these affects come with a chronic lack of sleep, don’t fear! They can easily be prevented! Here are some ways to help improve your sleep:
1. Create and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help support your circadian rhythm (biological clock).
2. If possible, try incorporating regular exercise into your week (roughly 30 minutes, 3-5 days a week). Exercise can help improve the symptoms of most sleep disorders.
3. Avoid eating or drinking heavy fluids or foods within 30 minutes of going to bed, to avoid sleep disruption. Examples of fluids and foods that may disrupt sleep are: caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods.
4. Create the most beneficial and ideal sleeping environment. Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and cool.
5. Develop a bedtime routine that works best for you, one that is relaxing and helps you get optimal hours of quality sleep. It is best to avoid screens such as your cell phone or TV. Also, try to avoid tasks related to work, and stressful conversations before you head to sleep. In contrast, try to take part in activities that help you unwind after a busy day. For example, you could take a warm bath or find a relaxing ritual that helps you fall asleep.