Of every three people who go to bed each night, one is likely to be tossing and turning until they hear the chirping of the morning birds. Almost 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, with insomnia being the most common form.
Many positive things happen when your body is in a state of sleep. The first stage of sleep is referred to as non-REM sleep. Your body and mind switch off from the external environment; it is difficult to awaken. Thoughts and body processes slow down, and the mind stores away long-term memories. Worn-out cells and tissues are repaired, and the immune system is strengthened during this stage.
The next stage is called REM which stands for rapid eye movement. This is the stage where one is likely to experience vivid dreams. This is accompanied by an increase in pulse, breathing, blood pressure, and temperature. The body clears out whatever is not helpful at this stage. After sufficient REM sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed, and you can focus better.
The body oscillates between the two stages three to five times each night. If this cycle is disrupted, the body will try to make up for what was lost the next night. What happens when one’s sleep is disrupted for many consecutive nights? Internal chaos is likely to occur.
With almost 70 million Americans suffering from sleep disorders, it is crucial to discuss some helpful tips to enhance sleep. Without further ado, let’s get started on seven incredible tips to help you sleep better at night.
Tip 1: Create a Conducive Environment for Sleeping
This is a factor that is often overlooked but could well be the cause of your insomnia. An uncomfortable bed or mattress or an untidy room are significant culprits for insomnia. If you are uncomfortable during the night, you are likely to sleep poorly. Investing in quality beddings will help to promote restful sleep at night. Avoid bright lights and any stimulating gadgets or accessories in the bedroom. Prioritize utmost peace and quiet, especially during the nighttime. Cleanliness is also of the essence; you don’t want to be tossing and turning in bed because your beddings are mite-infested.
Tip 2: Create a Sleep Schedule That Works
Sleep schedules are not just for babies; even adults need them to support their sleep. Whenever possible, have a fixed time for sleeping and for waking up. Ensure that your sleep schedule is in sync with your circadian rhythm. In short, whenever possible, ensure that you sleep when it’s dark and are awake during the daytime. Disrupting the circadian rhythm has been linked to the development of some chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
Before your regular sleep time, you must begin to wind down from the day. Avoid stimulating your mind too much just before bedtime. For example, don’t watch a horror or a very heart-wrenching movie moments before you sleep. You are likely to be turning and tossing in bed as you try to convince your mind to stop racing. Every evening, “alert your mind” that you will be falling asleep soon. Therefore, monitor what you eat, drink, view, and do.
Tip 3: Allocate Sufficient Time for Sleep
If you were asked how many hours you sleep each night, would you be able to provide a solid answer? Failing to plan is planning to fail, is a cliché that can be aptly applied here. According to the CDC, an average adult requires at least seven hours of sleep each night. This is sufficient time for the body to recuperate, rejuvenate, and be able to face up to the challenges of the next day.
It can be very easy to adapt to erratic sleeping patterns each night with life’s pressing demands. In other words, sleeping on-demand or when your work schedule allows you to do so. Tragically, many people have normalized sleeping for 3-4 hours each night in the name of working hard.
Over time, one develops what is known as a sleep deficit or sleep debt which may cause the following symptoms:
- Daytime lethargy
- Poor focus and concentration
- A weak immune system
- Impaired memory
- Difficulty in processing and storing new information
In the long run, poor sleep will negatively impact one’s productivity. Furthermore, sleep deficit may predispose one to chronic conditions such as:
- Excessive weight and obesity
- Cardiovascular disease
Tip 4: Mind Your Diet
Your diet does a lot to influence your ability to enjoy some quality sleep during the night. At all costs, ensure that you have something in your belly to sustain you through the night. Of course, hunger pangs will ensure that you stay awake throughout the night. That said, here are a few extra diet tips to help you sleep better:
- Limit sugar intake at night
- Have an early dinner, at least one hour before bedtime. Additionally, don’t overdo the dinner. It will be difficult to fall asleep if your belly is uncomfortable from overfeeding.
- Limit your caffeine intake, or any other stimulating beverage
- Avoid or minimize alcoholic drinks in the evening.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet avoiding foods that are too greasy.
- Hydrate sufficiently
Tip 5: Make your Bedroom Sacred: Sleep and Sex Only
Let your mind associate your bedroom with the two crucial activities: sex and sleep. If you do everything else in the bedroom, including eating, hosting, and working, it will be difficult to program your mind to fall asleep in the same environment at night.
Tip 6: Keep a Sleep Diary
In case you are still struggling to fall asleep, even with the five tips above, then it’s time to keep a sleep diary. This is where you document everything about your sleep. How many hours do you sleep, and how long before you wake up? The sleep diary helps you pick out factors that might be enhancing or limiting your sleep. You can use what you find to make changes that will improve your sleep.
Tip 7: Talk to a Doctor
Don’t shy away from talking to a sleep doctor if your sleep problems are not resolving with the tips offered above. If anything, you should see a doctor if you have insomnia that has persisted for more than four weeks or if you are unable to function due to insomnia.
Can CBD Help You Sleep Better?
CBD has therapeutic properties that make it sound like a sleep-promoting compound. It has solid relaxing properties which can help one unwind after a long day’s work. Research has also shown that CBD has potent analgesic and anti anxiety effects. Pain and anxiety are significant contributors to the insomnia crisis in the U.S.
CBD for sleep is gaining mainstream acceptance around the world. It can be obtained from medical marijuana strains such as ACDC that have high amounts of CBD. That said, future clinical studies will help to paint a clearer picture of the true potential of CBD for sleep.
- Brainard, J., Gobel, M., Scott, B., Koeppen, M., & Eckle, T. (2015). Health implications of disrupted circadian rhythms and the potential for daylight as therapy. Anesthesiology, 122(5), 1170–1175.
- Center for Disease Control (CDC): How much Sleep do I Need? Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.htmlWebMD: What is Sleep Debt? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/what-is-sleep-debt
- Mayo Clinic: Insomnia Overview. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167
- Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (M.A.): Sinauer Associates; 2001. The Possible Functions of REM Sleep and Dreaming. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11121/
- Harvard Business Review: Why Sleep is so Important. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2009/01/why-sleep-is-so-important.html
- WebMD: REM vs. Non REM Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-101