We’ve all gone through all-nighters before. Whether it was back in college for some late-night studying or a sleepless night caring for a newborn — losing a night of sleep is tough, but it can be done… in moderation. You can bounce back from a single poor night’s sleep, but it’s a lot more difficult if it’s something that you struggle with often.
Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that needs to be correctly handled. Insomnia and sleeplessness can have a serious impact on all aspects of your life. In fact, sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other mental health issues.
Up to 51% of all employees state that they’re less productive at work because of stress and sleep can play a major role in overall wellbeing. You really do need a solid seven to nine hours of sleep each night in order to feel healthy, focused, and ready to take on the day.
“There are lots of methods available to help aid sleep, such as avoiding electronic devices close to bedtime, controlling light and noise levels, and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine,” said Dr. Doug Wright, medical director at Aviva UK Health.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself that should help you tackle your recent nighttime issues:
- Are you willing to try a new approach — If you’re not willing to try something new, you’re going to likely continue struggling to fall asleep at night. Certain things work perfect for other people and won’t work at all for you. You have to find out what works for your body. Consider steeping Chamomile tea, a healthy sleep aid, for about 15 minutes and keep it covered so you don’t lose any of the heat.
- Is your bedroom really a good place to sleep? — If your room isn’t cool, dark, and relatively quiet, you might want to make some changes. Don’t watch TV at night, put your phone away, and make sure you have a working air conditioning unit and heating unit during the summer and winter. Keep in mind, efficient HVAC systems require maintenance inspections at least twice a year.
If your TV is always on, you have music blasting, or a pet keeps jumping on your bed, you’re going to continue to sleep poorly.
“As much as possible, someone who is having trouble sleeping should remove anything from their bedroom that is likely to wake them,” added Dr. Linda Myerholtz, a clinical psychologist with UNC Family Medicine. “This may include pets in the bed or even, in some cases, a partner. Easier said than done for some people, but this can really help improve sleep quality.”
- Are you constantly worrying every night? — Life is stressful… for everyone. And it can be so easy to crawl into bed at the end of each day and worry about all the things stressing you out at the moment. This is a terrible idea if you’re trying to get to sleep because your mind will wander, preventing you from drifting off. Similarly, a lot of people stress out about actually falling asleep each night. This leads to watching the clock and worrying about how awful the next day will be.
Rather than staying up all night worrying, if you can’t sleep; get out of bed, go into another room, read a few pages of a book, and try again.
“The idea is to break the brain’s habit of thinking ‘I’m lying down, it’s time to worry’ and replace it with ‘I’m lying down, it’s time to sleep,'” added Dr. Myerholtz.
Stop taking a good night’s sleep for granted. If you’re still struggling with sleep deprivation, talk to a doctor and take back the night!