Over the past week or so I have been having difficulty sleeping. Whether or not it is my head stirring with deep thoughts, anxiety or just being unable to get the shut eye I need, it is beginning to wear me down. I read an article on the consequences of sleep deprivation and trust me, the effects don’t look good.
Within this article it stated that going without eight hours of sleep a day can increase the chances of you getting heart disease, diabetes and cancer… which for anyone is a scary thought!
I don’t know why I’m struggling to fall asleep. There is a lot going on in my head at the moment, and a lot of things I’m trying to deal with – so I’m putting it down to anxiety. Hopefully once I figure these things out (which will probably not be for a while yet) I will get my sleeping pattern back on track, but until then, I have done a little bit of research and have come up with a few ways to help get back the sleep I need.
- Dim the lights – your mind is like a machine, program it to knowing when night time is. You naturally become tired at night, if you have a bright light on before bed, you may end up confusing your brain.
- Drink a glass of warm milk – I know warm milk isn’t that appealing to some people, this is why I add a few spoonfuls of Hot Chocolate to it, but milk has this thing called amino acid tryptophan in it. Don’t ask me what this is, but apparently it allows more sleep inducing amino acids into the brain – which sounds good, right?
- Get a routine – Getting into a sleeping pattern at university is practically impossible. If it wasn’t for late night essay writing, going out dancing, or just chilling with friends, then maybe a routine would be plausible. But my lifestyle just doesn’t suit one. However if you can get a routine then this is the best thing you can do to help get the sleep you need. By going to bed at the same time each night and setting your alarm for the same time each morning, you begin to train your brain into knowing when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to wake up.
- Turn off the computer – The backing light of the screen makes you more awake. Instead of surfing the web, or scrolling through Facebook, pick up a book and snuggle down into bed. It’s better to stare at paper than a bright screen.
- Stop napping – I must admit, I’m getting in a bad habit of going to sleep throughout the day. I blame this on not getting enough sleep at night and also a bit of boredom. Napping is great to give you that boost of energy you need to make it through the day, however, it can stop you from being tired at night. The trick is to try and restrain yourself from naps. If you need one stick to 30 minutes only and have one early afternoon. It has been said that if you sleep past five then this can really hinder the amount of sleep you’ll get during the night.
- Don’t panic – It is the worst feeling ever to watch a clock. You start to panic when you know you need sleep and you’re not getting any. If you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 – 20 minutes then stop trying. Turn on a dim light and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity such as reading a book. After half an hour, try and get back to sleep.
I hope that these tips help you if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, like me. I’m going to give them all a try and see what happens. Fingers crossed I can get back on track with my snoozing.