The Power of Sleep (Part 2)
THE SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION
MILD SLEEP LOSS
You can't remember important details
You find it hard to pay attention
You lack energy
MODERATE SLEEP LOSS
You struggle to string simple sentences together
You become irritated by little things
You can't regualate body temperature well
MAJOR SLEEP LOSS
You almost / fall asleep driving
You catch colds as your immune system plummets
TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR QUALITY OF SLEEP:
Relax before going to bed
Read a book, listen to soothing music or have a warm bath or shower before you go to bed. Avoid stimulants including alcohol, coffee or chocolate at least four hours before sleep.
Avoid sleeping in
If you wake on some mornings later than normal you can actually feel worse than if you had got up at your regular time. This could be because you've begun a new sleep cycle and haven't fully completed it. So rather than rising into consciousness from a natural state of awakening, you force yourself out of deep sleep and into your day. If you are totally sleep deprived or exhausted, sleeping in might be the only option to catch up on some lost hours.
Make your bedroom dark
When it gets dark your brain begins to release melatonin so you sleep deeply. If you want better sleep you need to shut out light - the darker you can make the bedroon the better, as daylight sends a trigger to your brain to switch off melatonin production and begin manufacturing serotonin. Artificial light from a TV or computer screen can also have this effect so reduce or eliminate your screen time before bed.
Although controlling noise is a key element of the sleep environment, silence isn't always your goal. You'll quickly adapt to routine noise and are easily affected by change in routine. For example, if you were to move house by the edge of a main road you would readily adapt to the hum of the traffic noise, whilst guests who visit would be likely to find it unbearable. If you live in the city and head to the country for the weekend, the silence might be deafening.
Overhead ceiling fans and air-conditioning may all help to dampen random noise. High quality earplugs may also help level out noises that disrupt sleep, although they often take a little getting used to.
Regulate your body temperature in bed
Try to maintain a consistent body temperature when you sleep. Shake out your bed covering before you lie down to sleep so that the down and feathers are evenly distributed. You may want to consider having different winter and summer bed covers if your seasonal temperatures vary greatly. Wear nightwear made form natural fibers that breathe, such as cotton.
Your depth of sleep will be affected significantly if your partner has a different body temperature form yours. So by all means give your partner a cuddle, but kindly dispatch them to their side of the bed for sleeping. Consider separate bed covers if you and your partner are typically different temperatures when in bed.
Exercise during the day
Research has shown that you will sleep better at night if you exercise during the day, particularly cardiovascular exercise. If you don't sleep well at night, think seriously about making a brisk walk, gym session or light run part of your daily routine. Exercise is a classic example of investing time in an activity to reap the rewards later- a one-hour workout makes your other 23 hours so much more effective!
'So a better night's sleep will improve your overall health and create a better quality of life. Make the commitment to develop quality sleep patterns and reap the rewards.'
Brett Smith, Wellness Coach (Mind Body & Soul Fitness Studio).
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