For most of us if not all of us falling asleep at times can be an exasperating struggle especially when it lasts for many days. I don’t know about you, but it always seems to happen when I have a busy week ahead of me where I need as much sleep as possible. Laying there in bed with thoughts racing through your mind, tossing and turning to the point that you’re not sure why you even came to bed because you could be using this energy elsewhere. Sleep deprivation can be that single component keeping you from living an all around healthy lifestyle.
According to WebMD “research shows that chronic lack of sleep is linked to colds and flu, diabetes, heart disease, mental health and obesity.” Besides your physical health it can also affect how you work, work with others, think, react, even how you learn. Sleep is just as important as eating clean and working out when trying to live a healthy lifestyle and reach fitness goals.
To ensure quality sleep your body must cycle through four stages of sleep. To ensure your quality of sleep you must advance to the fourth stage with little to no interruption. As you can see the longer you sleep without interruption the more likely you are to end up in stage four, which is the most important. The first stage of sleep is your Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM), which takes up the first 3 stages and is followed up by Rapid Eye Movement (REM) the fourth stage. The question is how can you increase your chances of falling into that REM deep sleep stage? Here are some things you can do to help yourself out.
1) Avoid looking at screens such as TV’s, iPads, computers, phones as these release light that stimulate the brain and also suppress melatonin.
2) Stay away from eating large fatty meals two hrs. prior to bed.
3) Exercise regularly, but not within 2 hrs. of bedtime
4) Avoid chemicals that interfere with sleep such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, ect. close to bed time. Most people think that a nightcap just before bed will help them sleep better when in all actuality it will interfere with your quality of sleep.
5) Mask loud noises that you can’t control with soothing sounds, a fan or even with ear plugs.
6) Sleep with your room as dark as possible.
7) Set a consistent bedtime. This will help your body know when it is time for bed, so it’s not guessing each night when to shut down.
8) Create a bedtime routine.
These eight do’s and don’ts prior to bed will aide you in reaching the REM stage giving you improved chances at better sleep. I challenge you to try these remedies if you don’t already for 30 days and track each night how you slept to see if you can tell a difference of quality sleep you are getting. If you do some of these remedies already try adding in the others to see if you can take your good night sleep to the next level! Please comment below with your results!