I’ve been doing a lot of research about my sleeping habits and patterns lately. What had started as a scratch-the-surface kind of research soon bloomed into something really overwhelming, and I knew I had to write about it.
But first, I would like to say that if you are one of those who get to have a sound sleep everyday and wake up feeling renewed each time, you are one lucky person, and I am really envious of your sleep lifestyle. You are probably wondering why anyone would be envious of folks who enjoy sound sleep. Well, if you have been having fretful night rests, and sometimes no night rest at all, you would be doubly envious too. Which is why I will never understand why folks get to feel shy about their rich sleep lifestyle, or why some people make others feel bad about this (if it’s not in ‘excess’).
Back to me, I had noticed for a while now that my sleep lifestyle could not categorically qualify in the sound sleep department. And because I had started to take mental wellness seriously this year, I knew I had to have that checked, so I started poring over articles and I came across quite a number of helpful tips to improve on that part of me. I know in this part of the world we hardly take these things seriously, after all, it is not like I have got insomnia or the dreaded narcolepsy, but like I said, it was a personal decision I made this year to pay more attention to these things.
Well, I noticed that even after a full night’s rest, I always woke up feeling like I did not sleep at all, and while a good bath would give me a good start, I still felt somewhat tired during the day, even if I don’t let it show at work. And yes, I knew that feeling tired during the day could sometimes be related to stress, but I had studied my sleep pattern well enough to be fooled into believing it was just the stress, plus I was having this situation where my eyes would pop open at a certain time of the night, and that was it for that night. Now, this is good sometimes, if I have to work at night, but on days when I just want to rest, it could be really frustrating. Which brings me back to those things I picked up on my research journey to help me improve on my sleeping habits.
Firstly, I realized that while sleep is important, the duration of your sleep is even more important. Don’t let anyone corner you with their old wives tale of you sleeping 1/3 of your life away if you are getting 8 hours of sleep daily. And while there are different school of thoughts as to what the average sleep duration should be, I suggest you find a balance, and stick with what works for you. It is said that the average person goes through five 90 minute sleep cycles alternating between sleep, and that would mean something around 7 hours and 30 minutes. What this suggests to me is that, if you are getting between 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep daily, you have nothing to fret about.
Secondly, I got to know that everyone has an internal sleep-clock, and this internal sleep-clock can regulate itself overtime enough to wake you up just a few minutes before your alarm clock does. Typically, what this suggests is that if you have to wake up at 6am every morning, and you are looking at going with a 7 hours of sleep daily plan, your bedtime should be somewhere around 11pm, preferably some minutes before. This way, you find your sleep-clock internalizing this new style, and even waking you up before your alarm does.
Thirdly, I found that oftentimes when I wake up at nights and can’t go back to sleep in 5 minutes, I reach for my smartphone device and start surfing away, and that might just be it for sleep that day. The truth is, I’m thinking this might be the hardest of all my finds. But then, if feeling rundown during the day is something you want to totally avoid, you should start by placing your devices meters away from your bedside.
Fourthly, the ambience of your room will do a lot to your sleep pattern. This is the very reason you get to some places, and the aura of the place just engulfs you. You should try to reduce the amount of sharp and artificial light coming into your room at bedtime. Also, make your room so peaceful and alluring that rest naturally beckons when you step into it.
Ultimately, check your eating habits. This is definitely another one I would have a hard time with. All that soda and caffeine after dark will not give you the sound sleep you crave so much. You should stick to the more healthy foods for dinner, preferably light and natural foods without so much spice in them.
As much as I’m not a sleep psychologist, these are helpful tips I found in my attempt to improve on my sleep life. And while some people suffer from sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, depression and so on, some of us just need to get these little things right before it gets out of hand. I really hope we get better!
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