In today’s world, sleep seems to be a topic of many conversations. What is it and how does it work? Is there any better way to do it? What happens if you don’t get enough? Sleep seems like such a simple idea on the surface, but when you get into the nitty-gritty of it, it becomes quite fascinating. Let’s get into it!
1) Top Things That Cause Sleepless Nights
One of the top causes and factors in lack of sleep is modern technology. There are many gadgets available with all sorts of screens that emit blue light, which signals your brain when it’s time to wake up. However, when these gadget screens are so close to your eyes and eyes are open for an extended period of time before bed, it confuses your brain and causes a lack of the chemical melatonin. This is one of the most important chemicals in sleep because it governs when you get tired and how much sleep you need at night.
Another one is… surprise, surprise… Snoring! If you are sleeping next to someone who snores, or hear yourself snoring, it could be one of the most important factors in not having a good night’s sleep.
According to SnoringHQ.com, snoring can lead to exhaustion and even damage your relationships. The noise alone is annoying, but there are other health issues associated with it. Snoring is almost always related to sleep apnea, a condition where the person stops breathing momentarily. This issue can affect your heart and mood as well as just make it difficult to fall asleep.
Stress and anxiety are also very common causes of sleepless nights. In fact, stress is the most common cause of migraine headaches. This is likely because stress interferes with your bodily health, mainly by disrupting your sleep. Unfortunately, this can cause a vicious cycle: Stress gives you a migraine, which prevents you from sleeping, which makes you more stressed, making your migraines more frequent!
2) Sleep and Your Mood
There is a strong correlation between sleep and your mood? This means that how much sleep you get determines, in large part, how you feel the next day. If you didn’t get enough sleep, you might feel grumpy and irritable the next day. If you get enough sleep each night, then you’ll be in a good mood and will feel much better during the day. Sleeplessness and mood disorders are closely linked, and long-term sleep deficiency can increase your risk of chronic health problems.
The connection between sleep and physical health is even more intriguing than that of your mood: getting too little sleep can lead to weight gain and heart disease! Lack of sleep leads to lower levels of hormones such as leptin (which signals fullness) and ghrelin (which triggers hunger). You might also make poor dietary decisions if you’re not getting enough rest. Furthermore, lack of sleep leads to increased inflammation which damages your cells over time. This can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, arthritis, etc.
3) So How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but the general rule for adults is between 7 and 9 hours per night. The best way to know how much sleep you need is to sleep an hour or two less than you think you might need (e.g. if you usually go to bed at 10 pm, try going to bed at 10:30 pm). If you feel well-rested in the morning when your alarm goes off, then that’s all the sleep that your body needs!
A good planning tool: think about what time you’d like to wake up in the morning and subtract a 1/2 hour from it. That will be when your alarm should ring in order for you to get enough rest. This means that if you want to get up at 6 am, your alarm clock should go off at 5:30 am.
If you don’t like early mornings (which is totally fine!), then try getting more sleep on the weekends. Sleeping in can help balance out any sleep debt that you accumulated during the week; just make sure not to sleep too much! Ideally, around 8 hours or less per night is best for most people. Of course, this depends on how old you are and if you’re pregnant/breastfeeding/a teenager, etc., so check with your doctor about what’s best for you specifically.
4) Tips For a Better Night’s Sleep
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine (which should be avoided altogether) past the early afternoon. This will not only improve your sleep quality but will also help you avoid having to use the restroom all night!
- Go wind down before bedtime. Do some light reading or take a bath an hour before you go to sleep. Your body needs time to slow down in order to relax into sleep mode. You may want to combine this wind down time with some herbal remedies, for instance, you can buy sleep tincture products that help with easing you into a restful sleep, or you might start a routine to program your body into getting ready for bedtime.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. Use blackout curtains and earplugs/white noise machines if necessary. If any lights are on in the room (e.g. electronic devices or overhead lights), they should be dimmed as much as possible so that you don’t have any stimulation when you are trying to sleep. If there are loud noises in the room, either turn up your white noise machine or try earplugs.
- Turn off your electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. This might be difficult if your job requires that you use a computer all day long, but try leaving your phone in a different room if you can. The blue light from our screens signals to our brains that it’s daytime, which makes it difficult for us to get into the right frame of mind for sleep.
- Try melatonin supplements if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep until morning. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally made in your body when it gets dark outside. It plays an important role in your sleep-wake cycle by signaling to your body that it needs to start shutting down for the night. If you struggle with insomnia, getting out of bed at night, or poor sleep quality in general, try taking 5mg, give or take a little, before bedtime. Melatonin supplements are available in health stores and pharmacies without a prescription.
It is essential to take care of your sleep and health. Taking a few simple steps can help you get the restful night’s sleep that we all need. From understanding how much sleep you need, tips for better sleeping habits, and treatment options if needed, this article has it all! It should be noted that there are many other factors outside of just what goes into getting enough sleep at night too, so keep following along for more!