If you’ve been having problems falling a sleep lately, you are not alone. According to research, 1 in 3 adults are also not getting enough Zzzs. What’s more troubling is, the percentage of those who have been getting less than 6 hours of sleep in a day has increased by 31% over the past 34 years.
Remember the last time you didn’t get as much sleep? Do you still remember the feeling you had then? Did your head hurt? Did you feel dizzy? How energetic were you throughout the day? I bet it wasn’t an experience to be proud of.
Live Long, Sleep 7 to 8 hours a day
Sleep is important. When you lack sleep, all sorts of things can happen to your body. You become vulnerable. The likelihood of you getting sick is high. Your immune system gets weakened and that’s when your body becomes exposed to certain diseases. The possibility of getting diabetes and certain cancer types is no longer an improbable reality. Moreover, as if that’s not bad enough, your sex drive may plummet down the drain.
Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep in a day. In a study conducted in the United Kingdom and Italy, they concluded that those who sleep less than 5 to 7 hours a day have 12% risk of experiencing premature death. On the other hand, those who get more than 9 hours of sleep are at 30% risk. Sleeping too much or less are equally bad for your health. Shocking!
You don’t feel hungry when you are asleep. But when you are up and about longer than you have to, the need to munch arise.
There are 2 hormones that are responsible in triggering appetite and are influenced by sleep –ghrelin and liptin. High level of ghrelin triggers appetite while Leptin help reduce it. When you lack sleep, ghreline level spikes, leptin decreases, making you feel hungry.
Lack of sleep also increases endocannabinoid. It makes you crave for certain food like sweets and cookies and enjoy eating them.
Weak Immune System
Cytokines are compounds that the immune system release while you are asleep. Some of which help in protecting you against inflammation. When you lack sleep, cytokines along with antibodies and white blood cells can be reduced leaving your body defenseless.
Lack of sleep lead to the production of a toxic protein found in the brain called beta amyloid. When you sleep, this protein gets washed up. When you don’t get enough sleep, the protein builds up and can lead you to experiencing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re ready to change your lifestyle and build the habit of having enough sleep every day, here are various ways you can sleep better and faster:
1. Block Blue Light
Your body has a natural way of keeping tabs on time of day called circadian rhythm. It relies on signals from the environment (daylight and darkness) to adjust. A certain hormone, melatonin, is responsible for telling your body that it’s tired and need to go to sleep. The body produces melatonin when it gets dark.
Blue light emitted by electronic devices disrupt your circadian rhythm making it harder for you to fall asleep at night. It prohibits melatonin production and tricks the brain to thinking it is day time.
When you can’t afford to say no to using cellphone or your laptop a few hours before dozing off, use of tainted glasses that block blue light at night do just the trick.
2. Use Natural oils (Lavender)
Why do you wear your favorite cologne? Doesn’t it make you feel confident, beautiful or alluring? Our sense of smell can influence the way we feel about things. Have you noticed how the aroma of coffee alone can help you be more alert and active? Lavender does the opposite.
The smell of lavender help induce sleep. Studies show that smelling lavender 30 minutes before sleeping can help improve the quality of sleep. You can dab a few drops on your wrists or pillowcase, add a few drops to your warm bath, or add to a diffuser and spray into the air before you sleep.
3. Use an eye mask
Eye masks are the simplest and most affordable way to get you to sleep faster. By blocking light and welcoming darkness, you encourage the production of melatonin in the body which assists in making you ready to fall asleep.
4. Use White noise as a sleep aid
A quiet room and environment helps with sleep.
White noise is a combination of audible frequency at the same amplitude. White noise is used to block off all other frequencies. It is best for those who find it hard to sleep in loud neighborhoods. White noise is now available in apps and inexpensive machines in the market.
5. Take Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin supplements are said to help out with the production of melatonin in the body. It is safe for short-term use and is unlikely to experience any hangover or result to addiction or dependency of use. There are some minor side effects so make sure to check with your doctor first before taking.
If after trying out any of these methods and you find yourself still unable to fall asleep faster or couldn’t get enough sleep, then perhaps it is time to consult a doctor.
It is crucial that you find out what causes the sleepless nights and find a solution. You might be experiencing a sleep disorder if you still feel restless after getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, lacks energy to go through the day, if you snore or encounter problems with breathing while sleeping. A sleep disorder pertains to any psychological or physical inability to sleep or causes sleepiness in the day.
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