Avoid Sleep Deprivation
Healthy Bedroom Tips
Signs of Sleep Deprivation
Even if you think you’re getting enough sleep, you may be suffering from sleep deprivation. The symptoms of sleep deprivation are not necessarily as clear-cut as you might think.
It’s not just feeling sleepy all the time that is your cue that you’re short on sleep. So how do you know? Here are some tips.
Difficulty Falling Asleep & Staying Asleep
Everyone has trouble sleeping now and then. We all experience the occasional sleepless night and groggy morning. We may even go through a period when we experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. For example, these things can happen during life transitions and times of high stress. However, when sleep deprivation may be a problem is when it is a regular occurrence, and is unrelated to circumstances.
Experts point out “sleep debt” as a way in which sleep deprivation can enter your life without you necessarily realizing it. Sleep debt is accumulated gradually, and is said to result from an hour or more of missed sleep every night for several nights. Sleep debt can get so bad that several nights of regular sleep are required to improve normal functioning.
Lack of sleep can make people very irritable, sources say. Are you snappish and impatient? Do you find yourself having little tolerance for your own mistakes and those of others? It may be lack of sleep that’s the culprit.
Increased Appetite and/or Weight Gain
Did you know that a lack of sleep may increase your appetite and lead to weight gain? Perhaps the body’s need for energy when it’s sleep-deprived is what leads to a craving for sweets, carbohydrates, or just food in general. Increased appetite may also be the result of hormones that kick in when the body is deprived of sleep.
Even without a marked increase in appetite, research has shown the sleep deprivation can result in weight gain. This also may be due to hormonal imbalances caused by too little sleep.
If you find yourself making mistakes on a regular basis, dropping things, forgetting appointments, or such similar issues than it may be your sleepy brain causing issues. Studies show that those who don’t get enough sleep have a hard time performing normal tasks. These same tasks are of no issue when they are getting enough sleep.
As with other mental disorders, sleep deprivation may not be a cause of depression, but rather a symptom. However, some sources do point out that depression can result from a lack of sleep. If you are feeling sad or depressed and are having a hard time determining why, you might take a look at your sleep habits.
Bedroom Sleep Tips
It’s easy to point to your schedule as the reason why you can’t get enough sleep.
By the time you get a free moment, it’s bedtime. However, you really don’t want to go to bed just yet; you need some downtime. You then stay up too late and the cycle continues.
There are all sorts of other reasons, too, for not getting enough sleep. Maybe you have a spouse who snores, or you just have trouble sleeping once you do get to bed.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to make time and create the right environment for getting enough sleep.
Here are some tips on how to do that.
Remember how your parents pestered you about bedtime? They had a point. Instead of looking at the ever-later clock each night, knowing you “really should” get to bed, set a bedtime and stick with it. Most experts agree that you should go to sleep before midnight, preferably before 11pm.
If this isn’t possible, be realistic and set a bedtime when you know you can get it, even if it’s midnight or 12:30am. Then be sure you get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep.
Another note about bedtime – if it’s too early, that can cause problems too, experts note. If you find yourself fading to sleep at 7 or 8pm, you may find that you wake up in the small hours after only 5 or 6 hours’ sleep, and you can’t get back to sleep.
You may have a set-up in your bedroom that is not conducive to sleep. Here are some things to look for and adjust in your bedroom to make it more sleep-promoting.
- Your bed and bedding needs to be a haven of comfort. Be certain that your blankets or bed sheets are texturally appealing. If you tend to be hot look towards blankets and sheets that help to keep you cooler. If you tend to be cold, consider flannel sheets. For extra comfort, you may want to consider a weighted blanket.
- Finding the best place to lay your head is more than just buying a random pillow. Proper head and neck support is the most important thing to consider when choosing a pillow. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the goal should be to keep the head in a neutral position so as to get the best possible rest. Be sure to buy a pillow that is expressly meant for what type of sleeper you are…side, back, or front.
- The spine’s neutral position can be further protected with a properly supportive mattress. When choosing a new bed it is important to take note of your pressure points. A good mattress will help to promote good sleep, good form, and good mental health. A memory foam mattress is an option to consider. Memory foam is known to provide good support and spine alignment.
- Keep it quiet in your bedroom. If you have trouble in this regard, use a fan or other source of white noise at night to drown out disruptive sounds.
- Dark and cool is the rule for a sleepy bedroom. Darkness is important for a proper night’s sleep. The lights from neighbors’ homes, screens (including the TV or computer screen), lamps, and so forth can disturb your sleep patterns.
- Cooler temperatures are said to promote sleep. A higher body temperature may actually stimulate the body and prevent sleep, but cool temperatures help promote a comfortable night’s sleep. Fans, windows and air circulation can all help with this.
We need to avoid sleep deprivation to be our best selves. Without enough rest our attitudes, concentration and physical health all suffer.