It’s no secret that the anxieties of modern life bring recurring restlessness during the wee hours of the morning.
“I can’t function. I can’t focus at work. I can’t sleep...but yet I can’t stay awake.”
These words aren’t just uttered by sleep-deprived millennials, but by masses of adults who sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity or busyness. It’s no secret that the anxieties of modern life bring recurring restlessness during the wee hours of the morning. A quick Google search for “Sleep Tips,” offers seekers a plethora of solutions aimed at giving rest to the weary. But what really works? And does sleep really affect our overall health?
The New York Times published a series of articles that shed light on the health hazards of lack of sleep. Their research shows that about 70 million Americans sleep poorly or not nearly long enough to achieve the full physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits sleep awards. From the youngest children to the oldest adults, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, mental clarity, creativity, productivity, emotional stability, as well as physical wellness. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can even shorten your lifespan.
FitBit has collected data on how the average American sleeps, which shed light on a sleep-related issue called “social jetlag.”
Similar to weariness you feel when you get back from a trip abroad, social jetlag is the idea that we say “yes” to too many social engagements during the week and expect to catch up on sleep on the weekends. The problem with this lifestyle is that the sleep debt is never actually paid.
At Novara, we don’t see sleeplessness as an unbreakable cycle. We’re committed to helping our patients overcome their sleep issues for a well-balanced life. While everyone’s sleeplessness or accrual of sleep debt is different, we have a few simple tips that will transform your night.
Avoid blue light from phones and computers at night.
The soft light that your screen gives off tricks your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up and be productive instead of unwind. We recommend that you stop looking at screens one hour before bed to help create time and space for your brain to relax before you try to sleep. You can also download apps like F.Lux to help remove the blue glow of computers and smartphones.
Create a peaceful atmosphere in your bedroom.
Your bedroom is your nightly retreat. Try eliminating unnecessary light, distractions, and noises.
Track your sleep.
Data is powerful. Tracking your sleep reveals problematic sleep patterns and the deeper causes of your sleep issue.
Create margin in your life.
If busyness is adding to your inability to sleep, take time to prioritize what is necessary and what isn’t necessary in your life and permit yourself to say “no.” Create regular times in your schedule for downtime.
Reduce caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening.
If caffeine is hindering your sleep, try stopping your caffeine intake after 2pm to give your body plenty of time remove the stimulant from your system.
By following these general tips, we know that you can sleep your way to a healthier lifestyle and increased mental clarity. Any active steps you take to get serious about sleep will soothe your tired soul and help you achieve your highest level of wellness.