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How To Get More Sleep

For those suffering with problems in the area of mental health as well as physical health, evidence presented raises an exciting point that focusing on getting more sleep can have beneficial outcomes. However, it may be easier said than done for some that have trouble falling asleep.


If you do have trouble falling asleep it is important to stick to a constant sleep and wake schedule. Most people get up early for work throughout the week then stay up extra late, sleeping in on the weekends. If you slept until 10am on Sunday you won’t feel tired when you try to go to bed at 10pm that night. This can make it hard for your body to adjust.


Seek help by a trained professional. If falling asleep continues to be an issue, going to a counselor may be beneficial (5) in order to deal with underlying problems that make it difficult for you to fall asleep, such as stress, past trauma, or something that is beyond your control.


Caffeine has become a very accepted drug in our culture. So many people need it as an aid to wake up or function. However, drinking caffeinated beverages has been shown to cause problems when trying to fall asleep. I have people in my life tell me that they can still fall asleep even after drinking caffeine of some kind; Even if you can fall asleep your body is not getting as deep of sleep or rest as it would if you had not had caffeine (3).


If you want to fall asleep more quickly you need to be tired enough to sleep. One way to do this is to get enough activity and exercise in your day. This isn’t too surprising as anyone can attest to the days in which you are more active, not only do you feel tired, but you look forward to crawling into bed that night and usually sleep better. Being sure to make time in your day to exercise will help you to fall asleep quicker and get more restful sleep (1). Preferably this exercise and activity is done outside as sunlight has been shown to help with your bodies circadian rhythms and melatonin production, which can help one sleep better at night time (2, 4, 8).


Make sure that your room is dark. Having even a little bit of light can be distracting or be a source of stimuli that can make it hard for you to fall asleep. If this is a problem blackout curtains or an eye mask can help. My wife and I live in an area that is louder at night. In order to help with this we got a white noise machine. It is helpful to block out noise and is calming. If you don't want to spend the money on one or for traveling I recommend ear plugs (I always travel with a few in my bag!).



Have time to wind down before bed. Too often people work, or are mentally stimulated, all the way up until crawling into bed. When that is the case it is hard for you to turn your mind off once you do lay down. It is important to stop using screens one, if not two, hours prior to going to bed. This is because the blue-light caused by devices tells the mind it has to wake up(7). Instead, do something relaxing such as reading, practicing yoga, stretching, meditation, journaling, or diffuse essential oils, such as lavender, which has been shown to help with sleep(6). If you must be on some sort of device for work purposes it could be a good idea to use blue light glasses.




Sleep is vital in order for us to function at our best and to feel good and well. No matter what season you are in through life, making sleep a priority is a must. You will reach your goals quicker, be happier, healthier, and make better choices as a result of getting enough sleep. Next time you start to feel off or that you need a change; first look at your sleep habits.


“Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.”


References

  1. Alley, J. R., Mazzochi, J. W., Smith, C. J., Morris, D. M., & Collier, S. R. (2015). Effects of resistance exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(5), 1378-1385. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000000750

  2. Choi, J. H., Lee, B., Lee, J. Y., Kim, C., Park, B., Kim, D. Y., . . . Park, D. (2020). Relationship between Sleep Duration, sun exposure, and Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: A cross-sectional study. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-61061-8

  3. Drake, C., Roehrs, T., Shambroom, J., & Roth, T. (2013). Caffeine effects on sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 09(11), 1195-1200. doi:10.5664/jcsm.3170

  4. Düzgün, G., & Durmaz Akyol, A. (2017). Effect of natural sunlight on sleep problems and sleep quality of the elderly staying in the nursing home. Holistic Nursing Practice, 31(5), 295-302. doi:10.1097/hnp.0000000000000206

  5. Freeman, D., Sheaves, B., Goodwin, G. M., Yu, L., Nickless, A., Harrison, P. J., . . . Espie, C. A. (2017). The effects of improving sleep on mental health (oasis): A randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 4(10), 749-758. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(17)30328-0

  6. Goel, N., Kim, H., & Lao, R. P. (2005). An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women. Chronobiology International, 22(5), 889-904. doi:10.1080/07420520500263276

  7. Green, A., Cohen-Zion, M., Haim, A., & Dagan, Y. (2017). Evening light exposure from computer screens disrupts sleep, biological rhythms and attention abilities. Sleep Medicine, 40. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2017.11.343

  8. Sleep Advisor. (2020, December 09). Improve your sleep with morning sunlight exposure. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://www.sleepadvisor.org/morning-sunlight/




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