Who hasn’t been there?
You’re exhausted. The thought of crawling into your bed is the only thing that has gotten you through the day. Now you’re lying under the covers, it’s dark outside and the house is quiet. But what happens? You become restless and start to toss and turn. Your mind starts running in circles, and you remember all the things you forgot to do today and will now need to do tomorrow. Eventually, your body becomes more and more awake and you feel like getting up, but the voice in the back of your head reminds you how tired you really are and that you’ve had a full day behind you.
Then, what happens next?
You hear the easy, even breaths coming from your partner next to you, and you begin to panic at the thought that you might spend the entire night awake. You envy your partner, who is sleeping soundly, and are tempted to quickly wake him in order to fall asleep faster yourself.
If this happens to you only every once and a while, then don’t worry – it happens to us all. In these cases, try reaching for a book or try the tried and true method of counting sheep. Though it might sound silly, it actually helps many people.Falling asleep isn’t a competition. Every individual body is different; some people need more time to process the day’s events, some less.
But if your difficulty falling asleep persists for over a few weeks, you should start investigating solutions and not test the limits of your ability to go without sleep. Sleep deprivation weakens the immune system and damages the heart. In addition to the obvious health dangers, lack of sleep also takes a heavy toll on our appearance, not to mention the related cognitive issues, such as difficulty concentrating, migraines and depression.
But at what stage exactly does one really suffer from serious sleep deprivation? Sleep deprivation is considered acute when it takes place over a prolonged period of time, which in turn is defined as one to three months during which you were unable to sleep through the night, unable to fall asleep, or awoke too early, three to four times per week.
At this point, you should consult a doctor who can provide you with the appropriate treatment.
- Routines that wind you up, rather than ground you
- Alcohol o Tobacco
- Taking medication immediately before bed o Illness (circulatory disorders, joint pain, migraines, etc.)
Don’t fret unnecessarily or overthink the problem – generally, a bad night’s sleep has a more banal explanation, like excitement, trouble at work, stress in one’s personal life, a cold, a low-quality mattress or bedding, or excessive heat or light, etc. So, don’t get yourself worked up if the situation doesn’t call for it, but you should nonetheless act prudently.
It’s usually just simple things that prevent one from sleeping. Take care of anything in your bedroom that might bother you – is the television getting on your nerves, or is it the chest of drawers which is too close to the closet? Is your window open at night, which causes you to hear all the noise coming from the street? Though these might seem like trivial issues, they can have a big effect on your sleep.
In addition to too little sleep, there can also be too much! Oversleeping prevents your circulation from getting started and makes you feel sluggish.
Here are a few simple sleep hacks that anyone can do:
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid nicotine
- Avoid heavy meals right before bedtime
- Avoid coffee and caffeine in the evening
- Take an evening walk
- Make sure that your bed and bedding are comfortable, breathable and made from natural materials
- Moderate sport or exercise
- Spend more time outdoors during the daytime • Take a few minutes to unwind and turn off your mind before going to bed
- Practise yoga or meditation
- Take a bath
As you see, occasional trouble sleeping can be effectively countered by simple strategies.