Get More Sleep! How a Lack of ZZZ’s is Affecting Your Life.
Just about everyone has heard that 8 is the magic number to hit when it comes to getting enough sleep each night. But nearly 7 out of 10 Americans experience sleep problems and many don’t get enough sleep on a consistent basis. In fact, a 2008 poll by the National Sleep Foundation estimated that almost one in three U.S. employees report that daytime sleepiness interferes with their work at least a few times per week. And while you may hear people brag about only getting 4 hours of sleep last night, consistent lack of sleep can dramatically affect your quality of life, which should be of great concern to any employer. The CDC reports 1.2 million lost working days and up to a $411 billion cost to the economy each year due to fatigued employees.
Sleep plays an important role in the way your body and mind function. 7-8 hours are ideal. No more, no less. During sleep, many essential functions need to take place within your body for it to recover each night. Lack of sleep greatly contributes to an added risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues. When you sleep, your brain tells your body to release hormones that help fight off:
Immune system issues.
Issues that affect memory function.
Issues that affect hunger and weight levels.
It’s nearly impossible to combat lack of sleep. And sleep is not something that can be “made up for” the following night. It’s important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule to benefit from the maximum recovery your body can receive.
So if you’re constantly ill, fatigued, short of memory or more, it could be time to look at your sleeping pattern. Do you have a set bedtime? Do you create time before bed to “wind down?”
These tips can help you get better sleep, and you’ll notice how your body reacts once it gets used to the new sleep pattern:
Get some sunlight. Being outside and getting more sunlight exposure can increase your ability to fall asleep by over 80%.
Reduce screen exposure before bed. Having a screen time limit, turning off the TV, putting your phone away, and staying off your laptop just two hours before heading to bed can help you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep throughout the night.
Limit caffeine intake. By having a caffeine cut-off time in the late afternoon, you greatly increase your chances of having a sounder sleep rhythm.
Limit daytime naps. Napping can be a great way to recharge sometimes, but long naps during the day could be hurting your nighttime sleep patterns.
Take melatonin or supplements. Some people swear by melatonin, a natural supplement that tells your brain to relax and go to bed. It could be worth a try!
Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking late at night may help you fall asleep, but overall, it actually hinders your quality of sleep. Limiting alcoholic beverages could drastically improve your level of deep sleep.
Take a relaxing bath. Having a hot bath with calming essential oils can help get you relaxed and ready to sleep if you take one right before getting into bed.
Get regular exercise. Having an exercise regimen during the morning or day could help improve the time it takes you to fall asleep by over 50%, increase your sleep time and decrease your anxiety levels.
Create an ideal bedroom environment. Investing in a comfortable mattress, pillows and cozy bedding goes a long way to help you get in those quality zzz’s.
These are great places to start to get a restful night of sleep. By starting to incorporate healthier bedtime habits and training your body to fall asleep and wake up to a natural schedule, you’re setting yourself up for a more productive work week and life.
By making sleep a top priority, you are also contributing to your overall well-being. Those who are sleep deprived are more likely to experience memory loss, fatigue, obesity and more. So by starting to make small changes in your routine, you’ll be sure to notice a difference in your overall health, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Ilana Tel-Oren is a freelance writer, content and project producer with a bath and body side-hustle that advocates self-love and self-care (www.stardustcoven.com). She writes content including web pages, blogs, and social media posts for clients in health and wellness, consulting and small business. She is also a contributing writer for music sites Buzzbands.la and mxdwn.