a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.
“I was on the verge of sleep”
Happy middle of the week! It’s also my second to last day of working at the credit union! I’m very excited yet here I am, trying to keep my eyes open. I’ve always had sleep problems but this week has been especially rough. I don’t know if I should blame it on the weather or the fact that I’m completely overwhelmed with everything going on in my life lately. Either way. I’m just freaking tired.
We all know weather can affect your mood and makes your body more sluggish feeling when the weather sucks. Let’s face it, if you’re where I live or pretty much anywhere else in the US or Canada it’s frickin’ cold and not very sunny. This makes me want to crawl into a ball and hide under my covers. Wake me up when winter is over.
Seriously, I’m not kidding.
There are the other obvious things that can make you more tired. Staying up too late, waking up too early, not getting enough sleep period, your eating habits, exercise. Just the typical things you’d think of.
Here are some things you wouldn’t expect.
1. You’re an inconsistent eater. If you eat a balanced dinner most nights but indulge in happy hour and late night burritos a couple days a week you could be damaging more than your diet. Studies show inconsistent eating habits later in the day can negatively affect sleep. If you have dinner later in the evening, that’s OK — as long as you stick with it, every day. If not, skip the unexpected dessert and hit the hay. Consistency is key.
2. Your mouth is minty fresh. We’d never tell you not to brush your teeth before bed but you may want to try a new toothpaste! Research suggests the scent of peppermint stimulates the brain, making you feel more awake. Try an alternative flavor like strawberry or bubblegum instead. (Who would’ve though! Guess I’ll have to buy two different toothpastes!)
3. You love a good book. You may have traded in late-night TV for a little in-bed reading in hopes of a better night’s rest. Survey says, this may not be the best bet. Exciting, emotional and intellectually demanding activities before bed can result in poor quality sleep. Skip the tearjerkers and history tomes and try a sports or entertainment magazine, or other light reading instead. (I am so guilty of this. I love getting in some chapters before bed.)
4. You smoke before bed. You may think an evening cigarette calms the nerves, helping you get you ready for bed. Unfortunately, nicotine is not just a depressant but a stimulant, making it harder for you to fall asleep. If you can’t give up cigarettes altogether, start by saying no to before-bed smoking. (Ew, how about not smoking at all?)
5. You splash cold. Sure, washing your face with cold water helps close pores — but it also stimulates the body, releasing energy to keep warm and stay awake. Try washing your face with warm water in the evening and save the cold stuff for that early morning wake-up call. (I always use warm water. In fact I didn’t know cold water helps. I think of warm water as killing bacteria.)
6. You charge up at night. You’ve stopped late-night emailing and no longer take your cell phone to bed but chances are, you’re charging your electronics at night. Even the handy light that indicates your items are charging is bright enough to disrupt sleep — especially if they happen to glow blue (blue wavelengths have the greatest impact on circadian rhythm). Try charging your tech in the morning while you get ready for the day or set up a charging station in your home office or living room. (I turn my phone over. This was one of the first things my sleep doctor told me about. The use of electronics and any light that it casts off.)
7. You get warm and cozy. Cuddling up in a nice warm bed may seem like a good start to a restful night, but an increase in body temperature can disrupt sleep. If you snooze with a partner, pet or even a pile of blankets, it may be time to lighten the load and lower your sleep temperature. Just don’t go too low; being uncomfortably cold is another surefire way to keep you from snoozing.
8. You love lemons. Tea with lemon might sound like a great alternative to an after-dinner espresso, but it might keep you up just the same. Why? The scent of lemon (and other citrus fruits) can boost mental stimulation and increase energy levels — not what you need when trying to drift off to dreamland. To catch some Zzz’s quickly, skip the lemon-flavored drinks and avoid washing your sheets with lemony fresh detergent. (I dislike lemons.)
9. You pop meds before bed. It may be easiest to remember to take pills before bed but some vitamins, such as B6 and B12, and certain medications, including steroids, have been shown to affect sleep. Talk to your doctor about current prescriptions to find out if mornings might be better. Plus, those pills will be easier to remember once you’ve had a good night’s sleep! (I’m not aloud to take sleeping pills anymore because they increase my restless leg syndrome. I always ask my doctors to only prescribe things that need to be taken in the morning. I’m a walking pharmacy. Those who know me will agree to this. But hey, we’ve all got some issues.)
10. You don’t DVR. Because TV watching is one of the few things on the schedule we can control, more nighttime television means less sleep for many Americans. In fact, in one study, more than 68 percent of participants watched TV for more than 55 minutes in the two hours leading up to bedtime — precious minutes that could be spent sleeping. To minimize TV interference, DVR your must-see shows and tune in earlier in the evening or on weekends.
Here are ten simple snacks for better sleep.
Oh and just an FYI lack of sleep kills your sex drive. I know for a fact nobody wants that. So if that doesn’t give you motivation to get more sleep then I don’t know what will.
Obviously, just as not sleeping enough, there are harmful effects of oversleeping. So if that’s your case, you’ll have to look those ones up on your own.
I’ve never been one to oversleep. I get up early, no matter what. With the exception of a really bad hangover. In fact I rarely get enough sleep. I never go into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep which is a sleeping disorder in itself. This is the deepest sleep you can get. It’s also one of the most important stages of sleeping. Without out it you’re not able to fully succumb to the sleeping process. I’m not going to go into full detail because it’s really confusing and I have a hard time understanding it after about 4 sleep studies, and countless trips to my sleep/neuro doc. One day I’m hoping they’ll find something to help me get a full night’s rest. I would just be oh so appreciative. It truly affects so much of your life.
Sleep is literally necessary to life.
Do more of it if you can!
Have a wonderful day. And hopefully an even better night of sleep!