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22 Simple Tips to Get Out of Sleep Debt

Written: 11/15/2007

Do you still feel tired when you wake up in the morning? Do you still want to continue sleeping after your alarm sounds? Do you have concentration problems or black outs? Then maybe you lack sleep. When someone does not sleep enough, the body tends to be in sleep debt. Certain people try to catch up with their lost sleeping hours by lazing in bed for longer hours on the weekend. This is very bad because it tends to affect the circadian rhythm.

It is advised to sleep for 6-7 hours daily to maintain a good health. It is during sleep that there is assimilation of information which is converted into memory. The brain also gets some 'rest' as well as other organs like the eyes. People who do not sleep enough have a tendency to overeat, which in the long run can lead to obesity and other health related diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes among many others.

The following tips will help towards a better sleep

  1. Develop a regular sleeping habit. For example have a glass of warm milk, read a non-stimulating book and finally brush your teeth before going to bed.

  2. Avoid drinks containing caffeine like coffee, tea, chocolate as well as beverages rich in vitamin C a few hours before going to bed. They stimulate the brain keeping you active.

  3. Nicotine is a stimulant. So smoking should be avoided particularly near bedtime and upon night awakenings. They may interfere with sleep.

  4. Choose a good mattress which is neither to hard nor to soft. The mattress should be able to preserve the curvature of your backbone.

  5. Back pains often prevent people from sleeping well. The best position to preserve the natural curvature of your spine is the fetal position with a pillow between your knees. If you have the bad habit of sleeping on the belly which is not very friendly to the backbones, here is a trick to try. Tie or stick a ball on your belly. This will automatically get rid of your bad habit in one week or two.

  6. Avoid intake of alcoholic drinks before sleeping or to find sleep. It is true that when you are drunk or under alcoholic influence, you feel very sleepy. This is because alcohol has a sedative effect. Once the effect is over, you will no more feel sleepy. This will disrupt the sleep cycle of the body.

  7. Our circadian rhythm is under the influence of the hormone melatonin which is dependent to light intensity. In winter, the darkness prevails most of the time. In the low light density, the hormone is secreted in greater quantity leading to an imbalance in the sleep cycle. The best way to treat this problem is to make use of luminotherapy to balance the hormonal cycle.

  8. Make good use of your bed. Your bed should be kept only for sleeping and sex. Laptops have no place in bed.

  9. If you have a TV set in your bedroom, I advise you to remove it. Many people get addicted to late night shows or watch programs that stimulate their brain before going to sleep. This is one of the major reasons why many people are still awake by 2 am when they have to get up for work at 6 am.

  10. When lying your head on the pillow, think about pleasant things like the sea or your recent splendid holidays. Thinking about personal and professional problems do not serve much in calming the brain's activities.

  11. Avoid overtime or long hours of work especially at night. Hectic work schedules can make anyone feel more stressed than usual, leading to nocturnal tossing and turning without any sleep.

  12. If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, don’t worry about it. Just close your eyes and get back to sleep.

  13. Stressing about not being able to sleep leads to more sleeping dysfunctions. Just relax and try relaxing techniques like yoga or meditation before bed.

  14. A warm shower before bedtime can be a very good way to relax and prepare the body for a good night's sleep.

  15. A dimly lit room is a better environment to find sleep. Draw your curtains and lower the light intensity in your bedroom before gliding in your bed.

  16. Looking repeatedly at the watch or clock does no good. If you find that you are not finding sleep, do something boring in dim light to avoid stressing the mind.

  17. Never go to bed hungry. Try some light food like some yogurt, a glass of warm milk with cereals, a toast with peanut butter. But do not sit for a meal. A light snack will do the trick.

  18. Keep your bed clean and friendly. Change your bed sheets and blanket each month. A clean and hygienic bed sheets and blankets will make you more willing to sleep.

  19. For those who suffer from allergies, place your blankets and mattress in the sun or aspirate them as often as possible.

  20. Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and has a comfortable temperature (between 15°C and 23°C). A cooler temperature is better than a warmer one.

  21. If you are not very active, avoid evening or afternoon naps. They tend to deprive you of a good night's sleep.

  22. Avoid taking sleeping pills unless you really need them and they have been prescribed by your doctor.

Sleep has a fundamental role in our daily life. Lack of sleep renders certain people irritative and aggressive and others tired, less motivated and creative. To be full of energy and 100% concentrated in your work, enjoy your everyday sleep.

Please check also an article we wrote previously, 18 Tweaks To Eliminate Insomnia and Get to Sleep

- Harry

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