Sleep—How to Get Ready for Bedtime
5 ways to improve your sleep and avoid sleeping disorders
Just to put things in perspective very quickly. My world record speeches were not done to promote sleep deprivation.
They were done to make people who are sleep deprived know what they can eat for more energy other than the usual junk food that many find themselves currently eating.
People who work two jobs or more or who work full time and go to school full time (as I did), need to know not only the importance of getting proper sleep but also getting proper nutrition.
A Pocketful of Zs
One of the most basic needs for a person to be healthy is sleep—the right amount of sleep. However, most people take the benefits of good sleep lightly.
Missing out on the doctor-recommended 7–9 hours of nightly shut-eye can have negative effects on the body.
People who lack sleep usually wake up feeling tired, lethargic, and irritable the next day. However, long-term effects of sleep deprivation are much worse.
There are hundreds of scientific studies done to understand the long-term effects of the lack of sleep to the human body. Here are some of them:
- Memory problems. Sleep helps the brain form connections to help a person collect, process, and recall information. Lack of sleep will hinder this process, resulting to negative effects on both long-term and short-term memory.
- High blood pressure. Studies show that a person who sleeps less than five hours per day is at high risk for high blood pressure.
- Weight gain. One effect of sleep deprivation is chemical imbalance that tells a person that he is full. This results to overeating and weight gain.
- Lack of sleep also means that the body releases less insulin. Less insulin raises blood sugar levels, which increases the chances of type 2 diabetes.
- Weak immunity. Unhealthy sleeping habits weaken the body’s immune system, making the person susceptible to viruses that causes colds and flus.
The human body needs the right amount of sleep to function properly. It is during sleep that the body has time to heal itself and return to its right chemical balance. Without enough sleep, the brain and all our other systems fail to function normally.
5 Ways to Sleep Faster
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, there are around 40 million American adults who experience sleep disorders. Almost 40 percent of American adults feel that they don’t get the right amount of sleep.
Here are some tips to get that long and restful sleep:
- Change sleeping positions. Studies have proved that people who sleep on their backs are most likely to suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea and lower back pain. Experts suggest sleeping on your side to avoid blockage of airways and to prevent heartburn and reflux. Also, having a good place to sleep and comfortable bed and pillows will help you snooze faster.
- No heavy midnight snacks. Having a healthy diet also helps in falling asleep faster. Avoid heavy, fatty, and spicy foods at least four hours before bedtime. If you must snack at night, try eating light snacks with nutrients. Teas such as chamomile, passion flower and valerian are also beneficial.
- No gadgets. Cellphones, tablets, and other electronic gadgets will keep the brain engaged. Avoid using them before and during bedtime to not disrupt sleep.
- Another way of quieting or relaxing the brain to get that much-needed sleep is through meditation. The most common reasons why people suffer from sleep deprivation are stress and anxiety. To combat this, an individual need to learn how to relax. Activities such as tai chi, yoga, aromatherapy, or even music therapy can be helpful relaxation tools.
- Consistent sleep routine. Developing a regular sleeping habit will help the brain and the body adapt and prepare for sleep. A strict bedtime schedule will help in falling asleep faster and have a longer, more restful sleep.
Do you have any advice on how to get that good night’s sleep? Share them in the comments below or through Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads! Also, check out my book, New Jump Swing Healthy Aging & Athletic Nutrition Program, for information on how to get healthier as you get older.
Donald “Spiderman” Thomas is a 3 times Guinness record holder motivational speaker, fitness and healthy aging advocate.
Colquhoun, James. 2018. “10 Easy Ways to Fall Asleep Anywhere in 5 Minutes or Less.” Food Matters, February 3. Accessed May 2, 2018. https://www.foodmatters.com/article/how-to-get-to-sleep-in-5-minutes-anywhere.
Fannin, Ben. 2013. “5 Ways to Quiet a Racing Mind.” Pick the Brain, September 5. Accessed May 2, 2018. https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/5-ways-quiet-racing-mind/.
Pietrangelo, Ann and Watson, Stephanie. 2017. “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body.” Healthline, June 5. Accessed May 2, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#1.
Young, Chris. 2018. “How to Fall Asleep Fast—20 Ways According to Science.” Sleep Junkies, May 1. Accessed May 2, 2018. https://sleepjunkies.com/tips/how-to-fall-asleep-faster-scientific-way/.