We all like to sleep. It is genetically embedded in our system. However, nowadays people find it harder and harder to get a good night’s rest. This is not necessarily their fault. The way that modern life has developed, it is a thing of pride to work yourself until the wee hours of the morning and then try and get on with another day with just a few hours of sleep. However, that is not the way that the human body has been designed to cope. All adults should get a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night in order to perform at maximum efficiency without any side effects to their lifestyle or their general health.
Poor Sleeping Schedules
A lot of people have become used to sleeping for a few hours each night and then getting on with their day. They might have even adjusted to this schedule and think that there is nothing wrong with them. However, in time, their body will let them know that they cannot continue on with this schedule and they need to take a break every once in a while. If you are serious about getting back on track with a proper sleeping schedule then it is not going to be easy. It will take a few days, even a few weeks of getting used to it.
If you follow the right steps towards getting your sleep patterns back in order but you still cannot manage to maintain a strict sleeping schedule then there might be something wrong with you from a medical standpoint. There are plenty of sleeping disorders that can cause you to lose those precious hours of sleep that keep you from going to bed early and waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and relaxed, ready for a new day of challenges and routines to overcome.
Sleep apnea is a common condition that causes breathing problems with people that suffer from it. Basically it wakes them up from a deep sleep a few times a night which in turn causes them to sleep more while at the same time not feel as rested as after a normal night’s sleep. In these cases there is no amount of willpower that can get you back on the right track. You will need to seek out professional help from a doctor that specializes in sleeping disorders and undergo a treatment to help you adjust to your condition.
Effects of a Bad Night’s Sleep
There are plenty of valid reasons for someone to get a good night’s sleep. The most common ones are obvious to everyone: you feel less tired and cranky and you are eager to get on with your day. People that haven’t slept enough are like walking zombies just going through the motions until it is time to go back to bed again.
Besides the fact that you will look and act like an extra from a cheesy horror movie, there are more serious side effects that will arise with the prolonged continuation of an erratic sleeping schedule. These can include heart disease, diabetes, weight gain problems, memory problems and an increased risk of depression. Think of your body like a vintage car. It might still look good, but under the hood there are a lot of things just about to break down. If you do not allow some down time for repair and maintenance, you will crash suddenly when you least expect it.
Ways to Get Back to a Normal Sleeping Schedule
Just because you spent the last year basically sleep deprived every night, that does not mean that you have to make up for it all at once. You are not a bear that needs to go into hibernation. What you do have to do, however, is take it slow, and increase your average sleeping time every night until you are spending between 7 to 9 hours in bed every night dreaming about fairies and unicorns. Even that number of hours is not set in stone. The only person that can truly judge how much you need to sleep is you. Just make sure you do not have any of the symptoms of oversleeping or not sleeping enough and you are good to go.
First of all you need to understand and respect what sleep really is. It is not good enough for you to crash in bed after a day of working hard and expect to get good results. You have to prepare yourself both mentally and physically for the rest that will regenerate your body overnight better than Wolverine and will have you feeling good as new the next day.
Stay Away From Stimulants
Obviously, this means no caffeine after a certain hour. There is no point in trying to get to bed when you are as wired as Sonic the Hedgehog after 10 Redbulls. You will simply not be able to go to sleep and just spend a lot of hours in bed awake while you stare at a ceiling. If you plan on doing this, at least draw some pretty pictures on your ceiling so you will have something to stimulate you while you waste away the night. Alcohol and cigarettes should be avoided before bed as well. In an ideal world they should be avoided altogether. However, this is not a utopia that we are living in. People will smoke and drink and we cannot change that. However, know that doing this will affect your body and prevent you from going into REM sleep, a deep sleep that is essential for the body to recuperate.
Avoid Television and Computer
Even though most people enjoy watching a little television before going beddy-bye, this is not helpful for those that have trouble maintaining a sleeping schedule. The bright lights of the television or the computer tells our brain that it needs to stay awake and do stuff, instead of going to sleep and not do stuff. That is the simplest way to say that if you train your brain to be active when you want to sleep, then you will have a lot of trouble falling asleep.
Eliminate Every External Distraction
If your pet makes noises at night then throw him outside. If you sleep with a partner that snores or that likes to start making chit-chat while she is sleeping then try to wear ear plugs. Every little distraction that you can avoid will help you get a better good night’s sleep.
Turn the Bedroom Into a Bedroom
That should be the room where you rest. It does not need to be the room where you watch television, or where you play video games, or where you have a late night snack. It should be associated with only the things that people do in bed.
Even if you try all of these things, there is no guarantee that it will work. However, you must not give up. IF you followed every step but still find yourself in bed at night wide awake staring at a ceiling try not to get frustrated. Get up and do something with your time. Do not try anything stimulating like watching television. Your brain still needs to know that it is bedtime. Try reading a book for a half an hour or some other thing that is repetitive and non-stimulating. After that try and get to sleep again. You might have better results.