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SLEEP DEPRIVATION WILL IMPACT YOUR HEALTH
Up to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems.
Take control over your sleep habits today!
“The shorter you sleep, the shorter your life”
- Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley
10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP
TIP 1. SET A BEDTIME ALARM AND STICK TO A CONSISTENT SLEEP ROUTINE.
Your body’s internal clock, a.k.a. your circadian rhythm, plays a key role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. This clock tells your body when it’s time to wake up in the morning and when to start unwinding at the end of the day.
It’s impacted by melatonin, which takes its cues from the amount of light present in your environment. This is why its very effective turn down the lights and have an hour of wind down time before bedtime.
Make a bedtime ritual and go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Set an alarm clock 60 min before bedtime.
Turn down the lights, take a warm bath or try to calm down by reading a book or listening to relaxing music or nature sounds. A set sleep routine will train the brain you to fall asleep and wake up more easily. Do this also on the weekends if possible.
TIP 2. GO OUTSIDE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
Get at least 30–60 minutes of natural daylight exposure first thing in the morning. Light is the strongest stimulus for regulating a person’s sleep-wake schedule.
The suprachiasmatic nucleus or nuclei (SCN) is a tiny region of the brain in the hypothalamus, situated directly above the optic chiasm. It is responsible for controlling circadian rhythms. The neuronal and hormonal activities it generates regulate many different body functions in a 24-hour cycle, using around 20,000 neurons.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy or sunshine, the key is to trick the brain into a new morning routine. Don’t put shades on because it will diminish the light reset function in your body clock.
TIP 3. DON'T DRINK COFFEE OR CAFFEINE AFTER 1 PM.
Caffeine is what we call a psychoactive stimulant. For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night.
If you give someone a standard dose of one cup of coffee in the evening, 200 milligrams of caffeine, the amount of deep sleep that they have is reduced by 20%.
You would normally have to age and individual by 10 or 15 years to drop your deep sleep quality by 20%.
Caffeine has a half-life of about six or seven hours and half-life simply means the amount of time it takes for a 50% of the drug still be in your system or 50% of it to be cleared. Caffeine has a quarter-life of about 12 hours.
So if you have a cup of coffee at noon, it's the equivalent of getting into bed at midnight. And just before you turn out the lights, you sip a quarter of a cup of Starbucks and you hope for a good night of sleep.
TIP 4. BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE. GET YOUR SWEAT ON!
Regular aerobic exercise like walking, running, or swimming provides three important sleep benefits: you'll fall asleep faster, attain a higher percentage of restorative deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night.
By exercising in the morning, you will get the juices flowing by releasing endorphins into your blood and get the muscles pumping. By jump-starting your body, you tell it that the new day has started.
Your cortisol levels will also rise and help you stay alert, energized and awake. If you go for a jog outside, you also will be exposed to daylight!
Working out is generally a good remedy for sleeping problems because by wearing out your body in the day you’ll get more tired and sleepy in the evening.
TIP 5. LIMIT DAYTIME NAPS AFTER 3 PM.
Prolonged napping can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep.
TIP 6. EAT HEALTHY AND AT REGULAR TIMES
Food is just as powerful a trigger as light is. Avoid large meals and beverages at late night hours. Recent studies have shown that your eating schedule is correlated with how your body clock works.
According to a study published in May 2017, people who don’t get enough sleep eat, on average, 385 kcal more than usual with significantly less protein and more fat. These individuals also experienced a heightened motivation to seek food for reward.
So, try to eat at regular local times and not when your body craves food.
TIP 7. MYTH BUSTED - DROP THE NIGHTCAP
Alcohol is probably the most misunderstood sleep aid or sleep drug. Alcohol is a class of drugs that we call the sedatives. And sedation is not sleep. Because what alcohol is simply doing is masking a problem that you're not dealing with.
Alcohol will litter your sleep with many more awakenings throughout the night, making it more fragmented.
The final part of alcohol is that it's one of the best chemicals that we know for suppressing REM sleep. So when you drink alcohol, what you're doing is sedating your cortex.
You're just knocking yourself out. And that's why you think of that you fall asleep faster.
TIP 8. CLEAN YOUR BEDROOM AND TURN OF THE BLUE LIGHT DEVICES.
Remove the television, telephone, and any other devices that radiate blue light from the bedroom. Although it is environmentally friendly, blue light can affect your sleep and potentially cause sleep diseases.
Try to avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bedtime. Use night mode on your phone or computer.
Not all colors of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths, which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood, seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.
Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
Keep you bedroom clean, and try to leave your worries at the bedroom door. An ideal environment is quiet, dark, and relatively cool, with a comfortable bed and minimal clutter.
TIP 9. DON'T LIE IN BED AWAKE. USE THE BED ONLY FOR SLEEP AND SEX.
If you're still awake after about 20 minutes in bed, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. Otherwise, you'll set yourself up for tossing and turning. The mind will then remember the bedroom as a place where you find it hard to sleep.
TIP 10. TRY TO AVOID TAKING SLEEPING PILLS.
If you are using anything to help you sleep, I think you have to ask yourself, are you just really treating an open wound and not really actually trying to stitch it up?
If you do take a prescription sleep medicine, work with your doctor to use it effectively and for as short a time as possible.