On a natural study about sleep, Americans are known to realize the benefits of sleeping, but only 10% of the population prioritize it. In a poll from National Sleep Foundation, priorities are broken down into the following numbers:
With the rise of demanding working hours and technology, our lives are so fast-paced that we simply don’t have time for sleep. We can even consider ourselves a sleep-deprived society and this can be really alarming, especially with regards to our health.
Everyone’s sleeping patterns vary. Most of us are good with less than 8 hours of sleep and some are still tired even after 9 hours of sleep. It depends on our physical needs, environment, and our own circadian rhythm.
Here are few of the symptoms that you might have been feeling if you’re getting little to no sleep:
Fatigue & brain fog
Ever wondered why you can’t fall asleep when you’re already feeling tired? It’s because your body is still in overdrive and producing adrenaline at night because of the stress that you underwent throughout the day. At night, you’re looking forward to falling asleep soundly but instead, you’re feeling twice as anxious and all of a sudden, you feel like you can still clean the house at 1:00 AM.
Brain fog isn’t a medically recognized term, but it’s commonly known as “feelings of confusion”, “forgetfulness”, and “lack of focus and mental clarity”. While it’s fairly common to people, it’s not normal. Brain fog is when your brain feels foggy, unfocused, and you feel like you can’t think. It is usually related to lifestyle or a side-effect of a medical condition or a medication.
Brain fog and chronic fatigue can go hand in hand when your body hasn’t been getting enough sleep.
Weak Immune System
When you’re running on very little sleep and it’s becoming a habit, you might start to notice that you’re catching colds easily and it might be taking longer for it to go away. That’s because sleep has been linked to a long list of mental and physical health and mental problems, including the impairment of our immune system. If you’re not sleeping properly, it can stop your immune system from functioning properly– leading to more sick days.
Risk of obesity
Sleep is responsible for producing our growth hormone which favors fat over muscle. Also, people who are lacking in sleep are more likely to turn off the alarm instead of waking up early to exercise. Plus, how can you lead a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have the energy for it?
There are a lot of natural ways to help get a better sleep at night. The first step would be to determine how much sleep your body needs by counting the hours you’ve slept and felt rejuvenated without waking up to an alarm clock. You can try an Epsom salt bath or incorporate essential oils into your daily routine.
Meanwhile, there are natural ways that can enhance your sleep such as:
Meditation & Muscle Relaxation
Intrusive thoughts can interfere with sleep so it’s not exactly a surprise that aiming for a quiet mind before going to bed can improve your sleep quality. Quieting the mind and relaxing your muscles can be effective treatments towards insomnia. Several studies linked these two with results of higher blood levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep and waking patterns.
Milk & Honey
You’ve been probably told as a child that before you go to sleep, a warm cup of milk could help you sleep better at night. It’s actually true because milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan which helps in inducing sleep by increasing the amount of serotonin, a hormone that’s a natural sedative in the brain. Carbs, like honey, can help transmit that hormone to your brain faster. Keep in mind that there are drinks that can help you sleep and not sleep, so you might want to be mindful of what you drink after dinner.
Create a sleep-friendly environment
If you’re already having trouble sleeping, creating a calm and relaxing sleep environment is important for uninterrupted slumber. You might want to remove digital clocks and other electronics that glow. Even cell phones and laptops should be switched off and on silent mode so it won’t wake you up in the middle of the night. You might want to invest in curtains or blinds that block outdoor lights as well. The room temperature can also play a big role in the quality of your sleep. A good temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees.
Drink Enough Water During The Day
Make sure that you’re drinking enough water during the day but not 2 hours before bedtime. This is to avoid waking up in the middle of the night just to use the bathroom. It’s also a good idea to use the bathroom before sleeping to empty your bladder.
While these natural ways can be harmless, if you think you’re experiencing something that’s more than just having lack of sleep, always consult a medical practitioner first, especially if it involves taking supplements and other alternatives that can counter other medications that you’re currently taking.