If you are suffering from sleep deprivation there are many things you can do to cope with it and make changes to bring back a good night’s rest. Beyond drinking lots of fluids and trying to avoid any activities that require full awareness and reactivity; you are better off coping by starting to make some changes in your habits to change how sleep is done in your home.
Tip #1 – Bring back bedtimes
When we are younger we cannot wait until we are all grown up and don’t have to have bedtimes anymore. Surprise! One of the reasons that people fall into cycles of insomnia and sleep deprivation is that they have no consistency to the time that they go to bed. A consistent bed time is the most essential part of good sleep hygiene.
Tip #2 – Wake up at the same time every morning
Waking up at the same time every morning is necessary, even on the weekends. The best way to break the pattern of sleep deprivation is to create as consistent a pattern of behavior as possible. The time you wake up is just as important to maintaining good sleep hygiene as the time you set to go to bed.
Tip #3 – Make sure you allow for 7 to 8 hours sleep
While the amount of sleep that everyone needs is slightly different, it doesn’t stray too far from the 7 to 8 hour range. The key to getting enough sleep is to make sure that you have enough time in your schedule to fall asleep, sleep for 7 or 8 hours and then wake up.
Tip #4 – Don’t have alcohol, caffeine or sugar 4 hours before bed
Alcohol, caffeine and sugar all set up a rebound metabolic process that can serve to keep you awake, or wake you up. While the initial effects of alcohol can make you fall asleep, as it leaves your blood stream you will wake up and then have a difficulty falling and staying asleep again. Avoiding all of these for about 4 hours before you sleep makes sure that they are out of your system.
Tip #5 – Turn off the TV, Internet and Mobile Devices
It isn’t just that the content can be over stimulating but that the electronic screens emit a light and flicker pattern that will interfere with your brain’s ability to move through the proper brainwave stages for sleep. The time frame seems to be one hour to 45 minutes before you are due to sleep to turn off all your devices. Many take a step further and say that you shouldn’t watch or look at a screen for two hours before bedtime.
Tip #6 – Make your bedroom only about sleep
If you want some very good advice about how to redo your bedroom so it promotes sleep you should spend some time investigating Feng Shui. This ancient Chinese practice of controlling the flow of energy in the home has always held that the bedroom should be a place of neutral energy. This means that you don’t want bright lights, electronic devices, work desks or lots of family pictures around you. The less stimulating the room is, the more conducive it is to good sleep. A recent scientific study has connected bright and light bedrooms with sleep deprivation and obesity. Another consideration is to make sure that your bedroom is as quiet as possible. Installing a white noise machine can help block out sounds and to make your bedroom as relaxing as possible. One last word about bedrooms, they should be reserved for sleep and sex. Don’t make them a place where you read or work as your brain will not associate the bedroom with sleep.
Tip #7 – Take a D and B complex supplement
Diet plays an important role in how well you sleep, and it’s not all about watching how much sugar and caffeine you have. Diets that are low in vitamin D and the B vitamins tend to be found in people suffering from sleep deprivation. Eat more green leafy vegetables, take a supplement and get outside for at least a half hour a day to start to bring a better balance back into your life to help you sleep.
Tip #8 – Add more calcium to your diet
Studies have shown that a deficiency in calcium can prevent you from sleeping well. Part of this stems from the old belief that having a glass of warm milk will help you fall and stay asleep. Science found that the lactose and calcium did work together to help. If you are lactose intolerant, taking a calcium supplement can help.
Tip #9 – Bring back a night-time routine
When you are little there is a specific routine set by your parents that signals that the day is at an end. The routine wraps up one day and prepares for the next. As an adult you may need to extend that routine more, especially if you are in a cycle of sleep deprivation. Make a relaxing activity like stretching, yoga or meditation a part of your routine. You can read, but don’t read a newspaper – nothing that will stimulate your thinking and don’t read off a mobile device. Have a routine for brushing your teeth and slowly closing down your home until the last thing to be put to bed is you.
Tip #10 – Where pajamas only at bed time
While lounge wear and going to the grocery store in your fleecy pajamas has become the norm, you need to stop doing it because it is sending the wrong signal to your brain. The more you can return the association of changing clothes to clothes specifically worn for sleep, and changing out of them when you wake up the more your brain will see the clothing as a symbol that sleep is coming. It may sound funny, but think about how very young children are raised, the act of putting on pajamas is the beginning of their night time routine that winds down the day, and their energy.