Do you feel like you’re doomed to tossing and turning every night and getting little sleep? Do you feel like being grumpy every morning from lack of sleep is a cross you have to bear? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, then this post is for you. While you might not be able to control most of the factors that disrupt your healthy sleep patterns, you can adopt certain habits that help encourage better sleep.
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Here are some of the benefits of sleeping well to spur you to take charge of your sleeping habits:
- Good health. Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t fall ill from disease; however, studies have shown that insufficient sleep predisposes us to serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity.
- Better memory and clearer thinking. You know that feeling when you get up after a bad night’s sleep and you’re confused and fuzzy? Well, it’s because you didn’t sleep well. Sleep loss affects our attention span, cognition, and decision making. Studies have also shown that while we sleep, our brains process and store up our memories from the day, so when you don’t get enough sleep, this process is lost and can lead to forgetfulness.
- Better sex life. For quite a number of people, sex tends to be put on the back burner because they’re just too tired.Need I say what this can do to your marriage?
There’s also evidence that shows that with men, impaired sleep can be linked to lower testosterone levels. Wouldn’t you rather sleep well and satisfy your partner?
- The reduction of pain. For people who suffer from painful conditions either long or short term, getting enough sleep may actually make you hurt less. Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and lower pain threshold and that getting enough sleep can be a good supplement to pain medications.
- Keeps you safe. Sleeping enough can actually keep you safer as it has been discovered that sleep deprivation has been linked with many notorious disasters, like road traffic accidents and even household accidents.
- Helps with weight control. For the fit-fam crew, did you know that getting enough sleep could help you maintain your weight? How? Because when you don’t get enough sleep, the hormone leptin levels drop, thus increasing your craving for high-fat and high-calorie foods. And we all know what these foods do to our weight. Besides, when you are sleep-deprived and tired, you are less likely to work out.
1. Create and follow a sleep schedule
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. It has been discovered that being consistent in your sleep pattern reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night.
2. Relax before bedtime.
Since stress can make you miserable and wreak havoc on your sleep, it is important to develop
some kind of relaxation ritual to break the connection between all the day’s stress and your sleep time. These rituals can be as simple as reading something light, taking a warm bath or shower, listening to soothing music with the lights dimmed, and even aromatherapy. These activities promote better sleep by making it easier to go from wakefulness to drowsiness. It is, however, advised that watching TV or using other electronic devices should not form part of your bedtime ritual as studies have shown that these gadgets interfere with sleep when they are used at bedtime.
3. Guidelines for eating and drinking before bedtime.
Try not to go to bed either hungry or too stuffed because the resulting discomfort might keep you awake. Try also to limit how much you drink before bed in order to prevent frequent trips to the toilet in the middle of the night. Avoid drinking coffee, alcohol, and cigarette smoking before bed as the stimulating effects they have take hours to wear off and can prevent you from having quality sleep. Note that even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
4. Get comfortable.
For you to be comfortable in bed, your room has to be ideal for sleeping. More often than not, this means a cool, dark, and quiet room. You can use room-darkening shades, earplugs, air-conditioners, and even a fan to create an environment that suits your needs. Also, using the right mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep too. While it is important to
choose what feels most comfortable to you, try as much as possible to use mattresses that are firm and can support your body adequately so that you do not end up with aches and pains.
If you share your bed, make sure there’s enough room for two so that you don’t end up kicking,
touching, and disturbing each other throughout the night.
5. Avoid napping.
At the time, napping may seem like a good idea when you are really tired, but it may actually make matters worse if you usually have problems falling asleep. If you must nap, keep it short: limit the nap to a quick 15- to- 20-minute snooze during the day — about eight hours after you get up in the morning.
This type of nap can actually be rejuvenating.
If you, however, work nights or shifts, you’ll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your curtains closed when you want to sleep so that sunlight, which adjusts your internal clock, doesn’t interrupt your daytime sleep.
6. Include physical activity in your daily routine.
Regular physical activity during the day can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. This is because your body is exerted and naturally requires rest.
It is, however, important to time your activity/exercise. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep, so it is advised that you exercise earlier in the day.
7. Manage stress.
If you’re the type of person that always has too much to do and too much to think about, your sleep is most likely to suffer. In order to have proper sleep, consider healthful ways to manage your stress, such as getting your duties organized, setting priorities, delegating tasks, and taking breaks to rest.
Last but not least, avoid watching TV and eating and discussing emotional issues in bed
as much as possible. Let your bedroom be a sanctuary for sleep and sex only. Otherwise, your brain can end up associating the bed with distracting activities that could make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
Once in a while, we all have trouble sleeping but following these simple tips will ensure that these times are few and far between. If your sleeplessness, however, lasts for at least two weeks, it’s time to see your doctor.
Sleep is free, so don’t let it cost you your health. Stay healthy!
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