As we get busy, sleep is often the first thing to go on our to-do list. But it shouldn’t be. Sleep is very important to our mental health, physical health, safety, and quality of life. Sleep helps our brain develop new pathways for learning. It improves our problem-solving skills. It also helps us get along well with others. Shut eye gives our bodies time to repair and build systems so they don’t break down and are less likely to develop major issues such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can cause a host of difficulties. It can cause us to have trouble making decisions or coping with any changes that life brings us. It affects our emotions and has been linked to depression and even suicide. Recent studies have shown that many diseases are caused by sleep deprivation.
How to Avoid Sleep Deprivation
If you find yourself short on sleep, these are some tips to help you get the sleep you need.
- Be sure you make sleep a priority. Don’t put it at the bottom of your list of priorities. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Keep the same sleep and wake time every day. If you like to sleep in on your days off, limit it to more than 1 hour difference. This will avoid disrupting your body’s sleep/wake rhythm.
- Have a routine you go through before bed to signal your body that it is time to sleep. (This is especially helpful for children.) Quiet activities such as taking a hot bath are best.
- Avoid exercising just before bed.
- Stay away from TV and computer use just before bed. The artificial light signals your body that it is time to be awake.
- Avoid large meals within a few hours of bedtime. (A small snack shouldn’t hurt.)
- Avoid alcohol.
- Stay away from nicotine or caffeine (chocolate, sodas, coffee, tea) later in the day. These are stimulants which can stay in your system for up to eight hours.
- Be physically active during the day.
- Use relaxation techniques to help.
- Avoid loud music. Keep it calm and soft.
If you continue to have issues with sleep, it could be due to a spinal misalignment. We would be happy to do an evaluation to see if that could be a cause. Please give us a call at 864-963-9304.
*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional. Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.
Photo courtesy of Guillermo Latorre on Unsplash.