7 to 9 Hours of Uninterrupted Sleep…
Sounds easy, right? Unless you are part of the 1 in 3 American adults who don’t get enough sleep, according to the CDC. Sleep deprivation can be caused by many things- sleep disorders, children, work or homework, to name a few. But do you know the many negative side effects that result from not getting adequate sleep? You likely know some of the obvious ones, like drowsiness or that extra cup of coffee you’re needing in the morning- but others may surprise you.
Some other common side effects of insufficient sleep include:
- Learning and memory problems
- Difficulty with attention and focus
- Problems with perception and judgement
- Increased chances of getting into car accidents
- Mood Disorders (depression or anxiety)
- Health problems
If you feel that you are not getting adequate sleep at night, talking with your primary care provider is a good idea, particularly if you are also experiencing or have experienced, any of the above.
In addition, here are some tips for Sleep Hygiene:
- Establish a routine of sleep and awake time and stick to it as much as possible (try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time on most days).
- Expose yourself to natural light and stay active during the day.
- Do your best to avoid naps.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, nicotine or alcohol later in the day as well as large meals close to bedtime.
- Try practicing relaxation techniques before bed, like meditation or listening to calming music, to help your body relax and calm your mind.
- Reserve your bed or the spot where you sleep for sleep only (avoid watching television, reading or using technology there).
- Create a calming and comfortable environment where you sleep (diffusing essential oils or a comfortable pillow may help).
- Turn off lights and electronic devices, as these can disrupt your sleep.
- If you are not asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed to do something calming, like writing, drawing or reading.
Sure, implementing all of these changes at once may seem overwhelming. If you are able to do it, great! If not, start with one, and see if that helps. Slowly incorporate more, as needed, and choose which ones work for you. Remember that the goal is to establish sleep habits that will get you a better night’s sleep, so you can reap the benefits.
Author: Taina Aceves, LMFT