Sleep is typically one of the very first things you give up when life comes at you fast. That’s why sleep deprivation is so common. Think about it. How many times have you sacrificed sleep to stay up late and study for a final exam? How many times you have stayed up late working to the last minute on a work project? While you won’t cause yourself too much harm by staying up late and sacrificing sleep on occasion, it’s something that can add up over time and result in a lot of health complications.
If you are continually sacrificing your sleep, it can build up over time. Missing out on sleep every day can have a cumulative effect according to John Cronin, MD at Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Center.
Having poor-quality sleep can negatively impact your health and wellness. There are simple things you can do to improve your sleep.
Some Consequences Of Poor Quality Sleep From Sleep Disorders
Your genetics and your body’s internal clock play a critical role in determining how much sleep you need on a nightly basis. However, the average person will need anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Finding your sweet spot can take some trial and error.
There’s a range of negative health complications that can result from not hitting your target number of hours. There’s plenty of research that shows how not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your memory, reaction times, coordination, judgment, and even your productivity. There’s also plenty of evidence pointing to how sleep deficiency can lead to a weak immune system, depression, and even chronic pain. There are also links between sleep deprivation and various neurological disorders including dementia. You are much more likely to die a premature death if you sleep too much too. The death rate is higher for those that sleep over 9 hours per night versus those that sleep under 6.5 hours per night.
The chances of causing an accident while on the road when you are deprived of adequate sleep are the equivalent of driving either at or above the legal limit for your blood alcohol content (0.08%).
How To Improve Your Sleep
There are several things you can do to improve your ability to fall asleep quicker and improve the overall quality of your sleep. One of the things that could be tempting is using sleeping pills for this. While tempting, experts urge caution in relying on them. Sleeping pills are not a viable nor safe solution for your sleeping woes. There’s research that shows that the risk of dying for regular consumers of sleeping pills is over 4 times higher than for those that don’t use them.
Instead of relying on dangerous sleeping pills for better sleep, you’ll want to utilize the following tips:
1. Limit Your Usage Of Electronics Before Bed
Using electronics while in bed might sound harmless, but it could be what’s causing you to be unable to fall asleep. Electronics with screens emit blue light. Blue light effectively simulates exposure to natural daylight. This can end up tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime when it’s nighttime. The problem is, your brain is meant to produce melatonin at night. This is your sleep hormone that is produced that signals it’s time to sleep. When you expose yourself to blue light at night, it curbs the production of melatonin which can keep you from falling asleep.
2. Clean Your Sleep Environment
Another major tip that you can use to improve your sleep would be to keep your sleeping space clean and comfortable. Impartial Noa ratings will help you to find the perfect mattress. You also want to keep it quiet. Avoid anything that can disturb your sleep. Having unexpected noises can cause you to unexpectedly wake up at night and disturb your sleep cycles. A good way to limit exposure to these sudden and unexpected noises is by using a white noise machine or playing white noise on your bedside clock/phone. This can help to drown out noises from outside. If not, you can use earplugs.
3. Limit Intake Of Caffeine
A lot of people in society tend to run on stimulants like coffee. If that’s you, it’s best to avoid them later in the day. Ideally, you want to try to curb your stimulant/coffee intake after mid-day. This can keep them from inhibiting your sleep.
If you cannot fall asleep easily every night, you aren’t alone. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, as many as 60 million people in the United States suffer from some kind of sleeping disorder. The United States Department of Health and Human Services claims that as many as 1 in 4 women experience insomnia. It’s also known that women are much more likely than men to suffer from sleep issues and disorders because of the hormonal fluctuations that they experience.
Insomnia is most common in adults over 60 according to The National Institute of Aging. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke claims that people typically average around 2 hours of dreaming per night even if they don’t remember what it’s about. Try some of the sleeping tips in this article and you may experience better sleep.