Are You Sleep Challenged?
Sleep is something we all need. It is absolutely vital to many of the human body’s processes. Memories don’t get stored effectively without rest. Things don’t get repaired properly without sleep. Particular hormones don’t get released without sleep. Your body uses sleep in so many ways that it is hard to imagine how modern society functions with people having increasing difficulty getting enough sleep. The sleep challenged modern era has such difficulty with getting rest for plenty of reasons that we don’t always think about. If you’re one of the many people suffering from this problem, you’ll want to look into improving your overall sleep hygiene. This process involves identifying and changing bad habits that contribute to a poorer night’s sleep overall. We’ll be looking at some of the more common ones here so that you can figure out what you might want to change immediately.
Lighting is a big issue with our bodies and minds. Mammalian sleep cycles are all controlled by the available amount of light. We’re used to thinking of this applying only to other animals, but the truth if your body is just as subject to it as theirs…we’re just better at making our bodies think what we want them to think. Constant and available lighting does a lot to disrupt our sleep schedules. It is understandable though. We all want to ensure that our homes are brightly lit so that we feel safe and can get around easier. The bright lights are potentially a problem though. Try turning down the lights in your home at night and favoring overall dimmer bulbs and smaller sources of light. Utilizing dimmer lighting at night will give your brain the cues it needs to help prep your body for sleep before it is time for bed and make going to sleep easier.
Our electronics are integral to modern life. Who doesn’t go everywhere with their smartphone? It provides a window to the outside world and keeps all of our lives neatly organized and at our fingertips. The sheer utility of them cannot be understated. There is a small problem though. Most smartphones, LCD computers monitors, and similar technologies use displays that emit a white-blue light. Studies are increasingly showing that this light appears to play havoc with our ability to sleep. Therefore it is typically best to remember to unplug for the evening to ensure that we’re not accidentally making it harder on ourselves to sleep than necessary. Try budgeting time in the evening to read or something else relaxing that doesn’t involve that white-blue technological glow. You should find yourself better able to rest.
Making and keeping habits is another important part of sleep hygiene. This can be a particular frustrating section of it though for a number of reasons. It involves remembering to treat your bed as the place you sleep rather than a place that you sprawl to get work done. Your brain does have inherent associations tied to a place and when you dilute a bed’s associations with sleep it becomes far harder to actually get some rest. Many of us also have floating bedtimes. It is one of the perks of being an adult, of course, but the chronic rebellion for a youth of enforced bedtimes isn’t doing us any favors either. Pick the time you intend to wind down for rest and stick to it. Be in bed by a particular time afterwards. It will take time, but you can build and enforce a pattern of rest for your body. This will also help you rest easier than you would otherwise.
Difficulty sleeping isn’t just a modern problem, but we’ve made it into an art. This doesn’t bode well for most of us. Fortunately, you can go from being sleep challenged to getting enough sleep without assistance. Practicing these sleep hygiene tips along with others can dramatically improve your ability to rest. So give them a try and maybe you’ll be able to wake up feeling rest again despite the chaotic mess of modern life.