Despite the jest the term ‘beauty sleep’ receives, research has shown that a restful sleep is key to good health and positive wellbeing. The lack of sleep can lead to health issues, headaches, migraines, weight gain and so much more.
Some people may simply choose to say that they have become an Insomniac; someone with disorder who cannot sleep. While the key factor for sleep disorder is stress, research shows that factors beyond that can also be disrupting your restful hours. Let’s look at the key reasons why you are not able to sleep.
1. Not Keeping A Schedule
We all have heard, ‘Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy & Wise’
Yet many of us choose to ignore this advice.
Interestingly, when we are younger, we are forced to follow a schedule due to schooling requirements. Once we pass that stage, many link staying up late and functioning on less sleep as rebellious freedom.
The influx of many chemically formulated energy drinks loaded with caffeine, has further distorted the importance of how sleep is the main activity that your body needs to rest and rejuvenate. Youth and young adults turn to these drinks to get that ‘kick’ to focus. The warning on the label that many choose to ignore clearly states that these drinks are detrimental to your body functions in the long run.
Remember, just like keeping a schedule to eat and exercise are key to longevity and wellness, Sleep is the main factor that contributes to your body’s energy levels. Understand that sleeping is not going to make you loose time on your fun, but the actual recharge that you need to maximize your day!
To support the importance of sleep, scientific research has determined that an average person needs give or take 8 hours of restful sleep. Even new age life support gadgets like smart phones and smart watches now suggest sleep time schedules. When scheduling your sleep, consider first what time you need to start the day. From that time, count 8 hours back and consider it as your bedtime. For example, if your day starts at 5 am, you should aim to be in bed by 9 pm the previous night.
Before you say that it is too late in the game for you to now change your sleep patterns, I want to share research on Behavioral Alteration. It has been proven through multiple experiments that you can change any habit in 10 days, by just doing it everyday consistently. In the bigger picture, spending those 10 days reinventing your sleep cycle is a small investment for better quality life.
Also, encourage your family who live with you to follow the same schedule. Many people are pleasantly surprised how much more they are able to achieve by getting a full night of rest.
So, set your sleep schedule, same way, as you would plan every other aspect of your life.
2. Not Adjusting Your Evening Meal
Dinner should be taken at least a couple of hours before you sleep, so that when you head to bed, you don’t feel too full. Your body needs time to digest food and settle before you sleep.
Also, consider a light dinner if you had heavy breakfast and/or lunch. Your body does not need too many calories to function during sleep. A dinner of soup and salad with an optional side of whole-wheat dinner bun can be sufficient food for the night.
For dessert, reduce your sugar intake in the evening. Sugar is known to create excitement in your body, and can also disrupt your sleep pattern.
Some vegetables and spices can give you reflux or stomach gas. These should also be restricted to daytime consumption as per your eating experience. For example, many people find cauliflower, beans and even milk to give them an upset stomach. Avoid them during the evening at all costs so as not to disrupt your sleep.
Also stay away from drinks that can disturb your sleep. Beverages like caffeinated tea and coffee will create mixed signals in your body and not allow you to rest properly. Limit caffeine during working hours of your day. To invite restful sleep, make herbal teas like Greeniche Curatea Insomnia as your beverage of choice for the evening.
You will immediately see a difference in the quality of your sleep, once you start eating accordingly.
3. Not Setting Limit To Screen time
On one hand, on-demand streaming of shows and movies, and easy access to entertainment through social media has made our life more invigorating. On the other hand, we have not learned how to limit that screen time. Some impacts of increased screen time are seen in the form of neck and back pains, weight gains and anxiety.
The mix of continuously working your eyes and brain, while you receive an influx of light and radiation, can over-stimulate your brain and cause it to go into distress. This in turn can lead to anxiety. Many people complain that they keep over-thinking while they head to sleep, which can also be due to increased screen watching.
We need to understand that the way our brains works, if we keep stimulating it, the brain can not decide when is the time to slow down and distress for sleep. This is why researchers have now strongly advised to stop screen time at least 1 hour before bedtime, so as to allow your brain to understand that it’s now time to rest. Another trick that works for many is to place smartphones and tablets away from you, so you are not inclined to start ‘scrolling’ away your hours of sleep.
To minimize anxiety, set realistic time for watching your favorite shows and to address social media. Spend the remainder of your day living your life and getting the proper sleep that your body deserves.
4. Not Doing Physical Exercise
Our body is a machine that needs exercise and physical exertion, no matter what our age. Have you noticed how children sleep better after a full day of physical activity? It is true for older aged people as well.
Choose your exercise based on your physical ability and energy. Anything from a full workout to a brisk walk can work for you, based on your physical fitness level. Adding some exercise in your daily routine can immediately improve your sleep pattern.
If you are not inclined to head out to work out, then yoga can be your exercise of choice. You can find many videos on public platforms for relaxation yoga. Include this in your evening routine between the break from screen time and before you head to bed.
5. Not Planning The End Of The Day
You will get quality sleep, if you spend the time before heading to bed to prepare for the next day. This will also allow you to wake up without stress about things to get done.
Some tasks to complete the night before:
- Get Clothes/Uniform ready for the next day. Make sure they are clean and ironed/steamed. Take out any accessories that you may need with it; shoes, bag, jewelry, laptop etc.
Get lunchboxes sorted and ready for the following day. If you want something packed warm, leave only the warming for the morning.
Ensure that you have enough gas/fuel for the following day in your car. This will be a big relief when you see long lineups at the gas station in the morning.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere like Canada, check the weather warnings and temperature for the next day, and plan your outerwear and commute time accordingly.
Invest this time to catch up with skincare. Apply body moisturizer and facemask. This would be the perfect end of day pampering that you rightfully deserve.
Qurratulain Izzat, writes about mental and physical well being on her blog Quezzlifestyle. She has studied Nutrition, Psychology, Business and Marketing. However, it’s the years of trial and error, and multiple successes using her knowledge to overcome weight concerns, fertility issues, immigration, job- loss, parenting and mental health, that has fired her passion to write for Greeniche.com