Why Sleep Deprivation is a Bad Thing
Is sleep envy a thing? If it is, I got it. My friend told me once her head hits the pillow she sleeps like a baby. Another friend says they get eight hours of restful (and deep) sleep each night. Another said she could easily sleep for nine hours and even 14 if she could. I envy all you great sleepers out there!
Me, Insomnia and late nights with BBC
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a terrible sleeper. I have no trouble falling asleep but staying asleep, well that’s another story. I suffer from bouts of insomnia as well. Sometimes I would find myself wide awake at 2 am, watching documentaries on BBC and internally freaking out about the fact that it’s 2 am and I have to get up in a few hours and I’m gonna be a hot mess!!!
About two years ago things with my sleep came to a head. I suffered chronic hip pain that left me miserable and sleep deprived for nearly a year. I mean I was NOT sleeping for more than two hours at a time, getting up in serious pain, using a Spikey ball to loosen the muscle spasm, then back to try to get another 2 hours. Needless to say, I was freaking miserable and not a fun person to be around during the day. Not getting enough sleep affects your:
Mood – don’t be offended if you notice people avoiding you at the office cuz no one wants to deal with the cranky pants version of you.
Ability to concentrate, problem solve or exercise good judgment – yup, lack of sleep can lead you to make some dumb decisions (on the upside, you can always blame your dumb decisions on lack of sleep!)
Creativity and productivity – chronic lack of sleep can mess up your alertness, attention and ability to concentrate. you may find yourself stuck on that same paragraph for an hour now or worse missing important deadlines.
Overall health – weight gain and weakened immune system can also happen, because the normal weight gain and hormonal changes that come with ageing simply isn’t enough ladies! (rolls eyes)
Skin! Yes, fine lines and dull looking skin. Chronic sleep loss can make you look all haggard and tired with dark circles under your eyes that even the best concealer couldn’t cover-up (unless of course, you’re a 40-something sleep deprived Beauty blogger/ Youtuber who can work miracles cuz it will take some serious hocus-pocus!)
9 Things to Try for Better Sleep
Having to figure out how to get better sleep become a priority for me. What has made the difference for me in the past year has been:
Easy Fixes can make to help improve your sleep
I have my morning ritual down but never paid much attention to what habits, good or bad, I had for a nighttime routine. The game changer came when I decided I needed to be more intentional about establishing a nighttime routine. I needed to focus on getting enough, and better, sleep and to take deliberate action to make that happen.
Here are simple ways to improve your nighttime routine:
- iPhone Screen Time and Do Not Disturb features – Using my iPhone features to power down and cut off screen time by 8:00 pm. This reminds me to put the phone away and pick up a book before bed. I keep saying I want to read more, now I can.
2. Eliminating caffeine intake after 2pm. I love an evening cup of tea but recently switched to decaffeinated tea so I don’t have to give up that simple pleasure while setting up my body up for better sleep.
3. Eliminating the glowing screen distractions. No t.v. , laptops, digital alarm clocks or tablets in bedroom. Of course this also means no more watching 2am BBC documentaries in bed if insomnia kicks in. Instead I practice deep breathing exercises until I fall back asleep.
4. Putting the phone out of reach. I put my phone face down and on the farthest end of my night table, out of arms reach. Some folks put the phone in a different room but I like to have it close by in case of family emergencies or my own.
5. Keep calm once sleep time is gone. To keep that calm, well rested vibe going, I don’t check emails or messages when I wake up. Ain’t nobody got time for notifications to ruin my morning zen! Instead, I only use my phone when I wake to access the Headspace app for my morning 10-minute meditation session. Then I put the phone away until an hour later when I’m heading to the office.
More costly upgrades for improved sleep time:
6. Blackout curtains. I need quiet and darkness to sleep well and blackout curtains do the trick for eliminating street lights and early morning sunlight in the summertime.
7. Improved Air Quality – I got a really good, pretty quiet, humidifier – the dryness in the air affected my chronic dry eyes which in turn affected my sleep. I’m also one of those people that cannot sleep with the constant humming noises from things like humidifiers or even the ticking of clocks. It was important to me to find a dehumidifier that was quiet enough to not disrupt my precious hours of sleep.
8. Pillow perfect – I invested in an ergonomic pillow that supports my head and neck just right and is comfortable which definitely added to an improved sleep experience.
9. Proper foundation – Consider getting a new mattress. One of the best sleep I’ve ever had was in law school one summer when I sublet my friend’s apartment for the summer. Her mattress was ridiculously comfortable and helped me to sleep really well.
Would love to hear what good nighttime habits you have in place to help you sleep better! Leave a comment