Do you often have trouble with falling asleep, or waking up during the night, and then have trouble getting up in the morning? Lack of sleep, (or in more extreme cases - insomnia) can bring on a variety of undesirable symptoms.
Symptoms of Sleep Loss or Sleep Deprivation
- You wake up exhausted, feeling "hungover" or spacey
- You are sleepy, sluggish or drowsy during the day
- You are unable to think clearly or accomplish tasks efficiently
- You feel "tired all the time"
- You are often irritable, angry, depressed or anxious, for no
particularly good reason
Lack of sleep can cause your immune system to become compromised because the body has not had enough time to heal and rejuvenate itself. As a result you are more likely to succumb to seasonal
infections and take longer to recuperate from illnesses.
Sleep Tips to Incorporate into Your Life to Help You Get a Good
- Sleep only at night. Taking naps during the day will only make you less tired in the evening.
- Get on a consistent sleep/wake-up schedule. Get up at the same time on weekends as you do during the week. This will help your body to develop a natural sleep rhythm.
- Exercise during the morning or daytime. Exercise in the evening does not help your body to relax.
- Try taking a hot bath or shower before bedtime to help relax you.
- Keep the bedroom slightly cooler.
- Read a light novel or listen to soft music to help you unwind and relax.
- Don't eat a big meal within two hours of going to bed. Instead, eat light, and choose food with a high content of L-tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the body to produce seratonin which is a hormone that the brain releases for a calming effect. Food such as shrimp, turkey, tuna, chicken, salmon, asparagus, cheese, eggs, kale, whole wheat, black beans, kidney beans and pumpkin seeds contain high levels of L-tryptophan. You can also try L-Tryptophan supplements in 1000-1500mg doses for the same result.
- Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar within 2 hours of bedtime. These are all stimulants.( Contrary to popular belief, alcohol will not help you to seep better, as it wears off it puts your body in a very restless state.) Instead try drinking Valerian tea. The Valerian root has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal herb to treat anxiety and insomnia. It will not leave you groggy or foggy feeling in the morning. Use it daily for 2-4 weeks for best results.
- Try taking Vitamin B3 (niacin) about 20 minutes before bedtime. Take between 100 and 500 mg. It may give you a warm tingly feeling (niacin flush) which will subside quickly. If it bothers you, lower the dosage a little. You can also purchase no flush niacin supplements.
- Sleep in silence and complete darkness. Your body will produce more melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone if you keep the room as dark as possible. If you have an alarm clock with a bright face, turn it to the wall or, even better, cover it with something so that there is no light in the room. If you wake up at night you won't know what time it is, which can make it harder to fall back to sleep, knowing how soon you have to get up. You can also try taking a
melatonin supplement (3-6 mg) about an hour before bedtime.
Finally if you are a person who may or may not have had a good night's sleep, but hate being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock, consider looking into a Light Therapy wake-up lamp. It wakes you in a natural way with light that increases gradually, providing a more pleasant and natural way to wake up in the morning. The Wake Up Light simulates the sunrise to help you face the morning with a better mood and energy level. It also has a power down mode that you can use before bedtime to simulate nightfall. That should help you get a better night's sleep as well.