Sleep has always been one of those things you tend to take for granted. At least until you starts losing a few hours each night and suddenly realize you can’t quite function as well without enough of it. And believe me, there are just so many ways for you to end up robbed of sleep.
Sometimes, you get assigned a new project at work that entails working longer hours. Or maybe you were just given a big assignment on a tight deadline. For those with children, school activities may mean extended hours poring over work stuff at night. There go another 2 hours of sleep.
Bottom line- life starts getting busy and you start losing sleep.
Here are a few more sleep thieves that are depriving you of your forty winks.
- Thinking Too Much
Stressing over an argument or a project may actually find its way into your slumber. You may find yourself restless and fretful. That’s because your brain can’t refocus itself when it’s near slumber. You may already be going in and out of light sleep and may not know it, thinking you’re still awake. The really sad part? Your brain may even end up associating your bed with anxiety, ensuring more restless nights.
Your Workaround: Write down pressing concerns. If you can, list down possible solutions as well. And make sure you do this well before bed time. If this is too late and you’re already tossing and turning, get up and walk around but leave the lights off. Go back to bed when your anxiety has gone away.
- Sleeping In
It’s always tempting to grab an extra hour or so of sleep. Especially if you’ve been going without your full 8 hours lately. Unfortunately, doing that will mess with your internal clock. The next thing you know, you could be walking in a haze instead of feeling refreshed.
Your Workaround: Resist the urge to sleep longer. Take a nap in the afternoon to compensate instead. Just make sure it doesn’t go longer than half an hour. Otherwise, you’ll be up all night.
Well, not you, obviously. Although if you’re snoring loud enough to wake yourself up, then you might want to have that checked, too. Really, though, if your spouse or partner snores really loudly, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Your Workaround: Get the significant other to sleep on his side. This tilts the head and opens up airways thus getting rid of the snoring. If that doesn’t work, then consider investing in earplugs.
When hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone in women, fluctuate, it can disturb nighttime sleep.
Your Workaround: Take a hot bath before bedtime, or take a pain reliever if cramps are keeping you up.
Hunger pangs will wake you up. In fact, some studies have shown that people who are dieting and trying to lose weight may find themselves waking up frequently during the night because they’re hungry.
Your Workaround: Try taking a high-protein snack before bedtime. This will satisfy hunger pangs better than snacks rich in carbs and fat.
- Too Much Light
Turning your main light off is enough to plunge your room into darkness, isn’t it? Well, yes. And no. Because while the room is relatively dark, it doesn’t get rid of ambient light – that would be the light from street lamps, or your alarm clock, or your TV set, or even your cell phone that you so stubbornly refuse to have too far away from you.
Unfortunately, it is these lights that tell your brain that there’s still light out. That results in you feeling more awake.
Your Workaround: Get rid of as much ambient light as you can. Draw the drapes. Turn the clock towards the wall. Have your phone facing down the side table. Close the doors so you won’t be bothered by the light in the hallway. Or just use an eye mask.
Getting ample sleep is important. And by going without, you are sabotaging the way you’re going to perform your daily tasks. You are also endangering your health. So take time to pinpoint exactly why you’re losing out on sleep, and then take steps to fix it. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.
photo credit: Leeds Biggest