Up All Night? How many of us are losing sleep worrying about well, just worrying! In today’s world it’s not just our modern lifestyle keeping us up at night.
There are a plethora of reasons we are missing on a good amount of sleep or sleep that is uninterrupted.
Physical V.S. Mental
This is a good place to start when we examine our sleeping patterns. Which is it we’re not: physically exhausted; mentally spent?
If we’re restless, tossing and turning without a thought in our head other than, say, when am I going to drift off already?! It’s likely we need to move our bodies a bit more throughout the day. Or take up some form of physical activity – exercise works. Keeping it simple goes a long way. That taxi ride to the train station Was it possible you could have walked across a few streets? Stairs versus lift is a no brainer.
150 mins of weekly exercise helps our sleep and daytime alertness. One fun way to fit this into your life – other than perhaps the obvious – is to attend cardio classes. Do exercise but not within 4 hours of bedtime as this may disturb your sleep cycle.
If it was a physical injury that halted sleep in the first place – back pain, leg pain, for example. It’s definitely time to get it checked out by a specialist pronto if not yesterday!
If our phone is arm’s length away at all times and our thoughts about yesterday, today, tomorrow, yesterday, today. It may be a good time to consider what it’s all about really. It might be worthwhile investing in the right way to focus your thoughts. A (life) coach, meditation, examining the cause further with the help of a health or sleep expert? It doesn’t matter which but that you find what works for you.
Why should we examine this any way? What’s so important about getting a good sleeping pattern going? Isn’t it a sign of weakness, laziness or just plain boring to get our zeds in on the regular?
Functional and Economical Impact
Sleep loss and sleep disorders affect our performance, safety and our quality of life. Almost 20% of all serious car crash injuries in the general population are associated with driver sleepiness, independent of alcohol effects.
Fast fact -> Consuming alcohol or nicotine before bed is never a good idea. Alcohol may put you to sleep, but it’ll wake you up several hours later once it has metabolized in your system.
Sleep loss and sleep disorders have a significant economic impact. The estimated costs to society are high. Leaving the most prevalent sleep disorders untreated are far more than the costs that would be incurred by delivering adequate treatment. The most prevalent sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) and narcolepsy.
Performance requiring divergent thinking deteriorates. Although tasks may be done well, performance deteriorates as tasks duration increases.
Sleep and sweetness
Eating 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey before bed does wonders for gently telling our bodies it’s bed time. Unpasteurised honey contains an ideal ratio of fructose to glucose, which when combined with adequate amounts of water, means your body should have most of what it needs to perform its restorative and detoxing functions while you sleep. Honey also contributes to the release of melatonin in the brain, as it leads to a slight spike in insulin levels.
This then leads to a release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan leads to serotonin and this is made into melatonin in the dark. Melatonin promotes sleep in humans by acting as an endogenous regulator of the sleep-wake cycle. This is why eating foods high in levels of tryptophan was said to help you get a good night’s sleep. Tryptophan – the amino acid is found in foods high in protein, iron, riboflavin and vitamin B6. However, the tryptophan you find in food has to compete with other amino acids to be absorbed into the brain, so it’s unlikely to have much of an effect on your serotonin levels. This differs from tryptophan supplements, which contain purified tryptophan and do have an effect on serotonin levels.
So while high-tryptophan foods won’t boost serotonin on their own, combining carbohydrates (such as raw honey) may help. A healthy portion should be no more than 30g. The insulin spike promotes the absorption of amino acids into the heart, muscles, and organs. The tryptophan left behind now makes up a larger portion of the blood’s amino acid “pool,” meaning that it’s more likely to be absorbed through the brain barrier.
Shopping For It
We spend a third of our lives in bed so investing in a good mattress, pillow, cozy and luxurious sheets is a wise investment for anyone. The truth is, everybody is unique and trying out different mattresses or sleeping spots in our lifetime seems to be the only way the right body finds the right bed. Before we achieve Goldilocks syndrome status, fear not. There’s a simple formula to it.
If you’ve had the same mattress for 10 years, it’s definitely time you to part ways. However, there are warning signs it’s replaceable. A less obvious one, for example: when we’re sneezing instead of sleeping. Beds attract household allergens, and unless you’ve got a latex or memory foam mattress, your bed may be clinging on to more and more of them.
3 Post-it Tips
Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated. Oxygen is essential for restful sleep.
Mix a couple of drops of lavender, chamomile, or ylang-ylang essential oil drops with water in a spray bottle to spritz on your pillow can have a knock-out effect.
Sounds obvious but if you wake up in the middle of the night – try to avoid getting out of bed before you slip back to sleep.
Finally, feeling tired all the time should never be considered normal.
So, if this goes beyond “first day at the new office” or “job interview nerves” – or whatever a temporary or transient change from your normal is – you should establish the cause to find the right solution for you