World Sleep Day: 5 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight

When Sleep is Sound, Health and Happiness Abound

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I don’t drink coffee to stay awake. I know that caffeine is America’s legal drug to stay awake, and coffee shops are abound to fill that need. But for some reason, a 11th grade chemistry poster presentation on caffeine swayed me away from coffee. It’s an artificial way to keep you awake.

Instead, I sleep. Yes, it’s true — I didn’t drink coffee during school. And I don’t drink coffee for work. How is it possible that I just sleep to refuel?

My mom may have influenced me a little. Whenever I physically felt bad or crummy as a kid, she told me to take a shower then go to sleep. So being the good kid, I slept.

I think this country is sleep deprived and we simply don’t get enough sleep every night. Some people say that sleep is a waste of time and you’ll get plenty of it once you’re dead. However, I think otherwise.

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Sleeping allows your brain and body to recharge, and clear your mind for the night. And dreaming at night is your mind’s unconscious way of solving potential and current problems.

I am pretty lucky when it comes to sleeping. When I was a baby and I cried, my parents drove me around the block in the car and I fell asleep. I can still fall asleep almost anywhere anytime. I even miss the snacks on flights. I worked the night shift and sleeping during the day really wasn’t too bad (except for when construction was going on or the neighbors’ dogs were barking).

But some people can’t sleep. Which totally sucks because they are¬†cranky. Irritable. It’s much more difficult to concentrate and remember things. And drowsy¬†driving is dangerous driving.

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During the rare times that I can’t sleep, I found that I did somethings that I shouldn’t do. Here are some things that I do to help me sleep.

  1. Don’t eat a large meal at least 1 hour before sleeping. When you eat a large meal, your body is spiked with glucose and your body is working on digesting food, not getting ready to sleep.
  2. Sleep in a dark room with as little distractions as possible. This is especially important for people who work during the night and sleep during the day. Getting dark shades is helpful. You shouldn’t feel too hot or cold, and the mattress and pillows should feel comfortable to you. If you find yourself tossing and turning often, it may be time to consider a new mattress or pillow!
  3. Clear your mind with deep breathing. This one sounds cheesy but it really works. At work, I noticed that patients who have the most difficult time sleeping are those who have too much on their mind. They think about everything and anything except for deep breathing. They will try to mask the problem by asking for a sleeping pill but that is not always the solution. The mind needs to be clear before falling into a nice, deep sleep otherwise the mind will be too focused on other thoughts.
  4. Write down your day /topics or talk to someone about your day. I find that if you write down your thoughts and issues, then you can set aside the problem for the next day. By writing a journal, you can more clearly see the problems and how you may want to solve them. You won’t have to keep thinking about the problems because you’ve already written it down.
  5. Exercise. Many times, being overweight contributes to a large fat neck. This kind of anatomy can cause obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You may hear snoring and really the worst part is that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen while you sleep. This often causes daytime sleepiness because your body isn’t resting throughout the night since your brain keeps waking you up to make sure you get enough oxygen!

I hope you learned something new and enjoy sleeping!

Until next time,

Jessica