Sleep is equally important for human living as water and food. Insufficient sleep may cause many ill effects as it affects your day time life in a negative manner. You may develop fatigue and sleepiness during the day which makes you accident prone and a bad decision maker. Sleep deprivation for more than 24 hours is considered to be equivalent to having 0.1 percent alcohol content in blood which decreases the hand to eye coordination. For kids at school, sleep deprivation can affect their performance which can lead to serious emotional disorders such as depression.
Signs of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is a state where you do not get proper quality or quantity of sleep. Sleep deprivation may or may not be voluntary. Any disruptions to the normal wake up and sleep cycle like for those travelling to different time zones and working in shifts is considered to be sleep deprivation. Few symptoms of sleep deprivation may include the following:
- Dozing off frequently while sitting idle
- Yawning very frequently
- Sleep inertia experienced all through the day
- Dizziness while waking up in morning
- Mood swings and low concentration
- Sleep deprivation in kids makes them moody and irritable
- Emotionally weak and may explode on slight provocation
- Hyperactive behavior
- Unwillingness to get up in the morning
- Temper tantrums
- Naps during the day
How to be sure of your sleeping problems?
Sleep disorders can be due to many reasons. It may be due to physical or mental illness. Some self diagnosis can be done at home or you can get a sleep test done by visiting a sleep clinic. In sleep labs some monitoring is done while you sleep. A specialist can diagnose the problem after reviewing the reports. You can find out if at all anything is wrong. You can do some self analysis whether you are ill or stressed, or you have been taking a lot of alcohol or coffee. You can discuss your emotional problems with the doctor or your partner. Once the doctor rules out the cause as an illness then change your lifestyle a bit to accommodate some home remedies for treating sleep deprivation.
Cut down alcohol and caffeine intake
Coffee contains caffeine and caffeine stimulates the brain. Coffee may be a hurdle in your sleep if consumed more than two cups a day. Any product containing caffeine should be avoided in later part of the day to ensure a good sleep. On the other hand, though alcohol may seem to make you feel drowsy and make you sleep just after consumption but soon it will show you some unwanted side effects. You may wake up after some time due to full bladder, headache or stomach ache. As soon as the sedative effect of alcohol fades away, it can deprive you of sleep.
Avoid any discomfort
According to National Sleep Foundation, the best suited sleep environment for humans is quiet, comfortable, dark and cool place. So try to be cozy in your bed. The bed and pillow should be according to your comfort. Try avoiding any arguments, television, eating, working or any other noise in the bed room. It should only be used as a place to sleep.
A little Sugar may help
A pre sleep drink containing honey or sugar may act as sedative and actually put you to sleep. Other options can be some sugary fruits, consumed about half an hour before going to bed. You should consume your meals about three hours before going to bed. Synthetic sleeping pills may put you to sleep but you tend to experience some morning fuzziness. So having honey mixed with your caffeine free beverage or milk along with some cookies gives you a relaxing body and does the best for your sleep.
A Bedtime snack might be good
To have a blissful sleep, try out some bed time snack high in carbohydrate and low in protein. Having a toast rich in carbohydrate or a glass of warm milk before bedtime is a proven formula for sleeping problems. Warm milk relaxes your body and mind and helps you to sleep easily. Milk contains tryptophan which is believed to be the reason behind relaxing the mind and bring you to sleeping mode. Other food items containing this chemical are cashews, soybeans, cheese, chicken, tuna and turkey. If you are used to urinate frequently after consuming liquids then they can act as substitute for milk before bed time.
Avoid fluctuations in schedule
Let your body follow a strict sleep wake up schedule. Fluctuations in the schedule even on weekends may cause insomnia. Less sleep at one night makes you drowsy in the day and if nap is taken in the day then it causes problem while sleeping the following night. This cycle may go on and you fall prey to insomnia. So the best option is to sleep in time and have a refreshing start on the next day.
Bed time ritual
Establishing a bed time ritual is helpful for both children and adults. Bathing the kids or reciting a story every night before hitting bed gives them a signal and the mind prepares to sleep. For adults taking a warm water bath some two to three hours before sleeping is relaxing for the body. For a wonderful bath you can add two cups of Epsom salts to hot water tub and relax there for 10 to 20 minutes.
Tryptophan deficiency in people suffering with depression is believed to be the reason behind sleeplessness. 5-HTP contains tryptophan which helps the body in the formation of serotonin. Serotonin is known to be a main factor affecting sleep. If present in deficiency, it can actually give you sleepless nights. So if you are suffering with depression it is the time to consult your doctor as deficiency of serotonin is very probable. According to experts 100mg of the supplement is good enough to relax and put you to sleep.
Valerian contains chemicals having sedative properties. It is a staple medicinal herb being used at a wide scale in Europe. It is used in the treatment of insomnia. The chemicals present in the herb have a strong relaxing effect on the muscles and it lets you spend more time in deep sleep. These chemicals are mainly concentrated in the roots of the plant. There are some other unidentified chemicals as well in the plant which causes a calming effect.
The biological clock of the body is regulated by this hormone. The quantity of this hormone in body decreases with age and thus older people generally have the tendency to sleep less. Taking melatonin supplement may actually help you to sleep. You can take this supplement 1-2 hours before hitting the bed.
If you do not feel sleepy even after 30 minutes getting into bed then try getting out and take a walk. Try to avoid putting clock in bedroom or do not face it while sleeping as it may add to your insomnia. Try doing something to calm you down before sleeping instead of working. Listening to music, yoga, meditation and deep breathing can do the trick for some of you.
Work out and exhaust yourself to sleep
Work out 2-3 hours before sleep can act as a catalyst for your sleep but be cautious of working out well before sleeping as it may even reverse the effect and keep you up.
Treat your Snoring away
Try some self care techniques to avoid heavy snoring like avoiding smoking, sleeping on your side, lose excess weight and avoid sedatives and sleeping pills.
Wake up with the Sun
Alarm clock may put you in bad mood when you open your eyes with the annoying noise. Set your biological clock such that you wake with the sun. Draw your curtains apart so that the gentle first rays of the sun wake you up each morning. Also after waking up, walk out to reach direct sunlight and face the sun for about 15 minutes. It has a calming effect and gives you a fresh kick start of the day.
Acupuncture treatment by pressing some key points of the body everyday for 1-2 weeks can be helpful in recovering the normal sleep.
Taking a luxurious aromatic bath in warm water 30 minutes before hitting the pillow helps you feel relaxed. Add few drops of essential oils such as hops, lavender, chamomile, mandarin, neroli, ylang- ylang, sandalwood, and marjoram to the water tub. Make your own relaxing oil and massage your shoulders and neck. This oil can also be used in the burner near your bed or pour few drops on your pillow.
The formula to sleep cannot be generalized. Different things may work for different people so it is always advisable to try every possible thing and find out what does the trick for you. There is no pre defined remedy for sleep deprivation but the above listed home remedies are tried and tested formulas which have done wonders for people.