In an ideal world, we’d all get eight hours of sleep every night without any issues. We’d go to bed around, say, 11 p.m., and wake up at 7 a.m. refreshed and ready to tackle all the day’s challenges. Unfortunately, reality too often intrudes, and people struggle to wake up because they got three or four hours of sleep instead of eight, or worse yet, they got no sleep at all. They just stayed up all night thinking about how wide awake they were. That’s a recipe for a miserable day, and if the lack of sleep continues, it’s a recipe for a miserable life. Before we can fix the problem, we need to look at a few factors that can screw up your sleep schedule.
Stress is a big factor. It’s probably the biggest factor, actually. Our inability to stop thinking about all the day’s events can often mean we just lay in bed and stare at the ceiling, hoping against hope that sleep will come and whisk us away to a series of pleasant, happy dreams. Worse yet, we may pick up our smartphone and start checking our Facebook accounts, or start looking at cute puppy videos on YouTube. After all, cute puppy videos are relaxing, right? Yes, they can be, but the light from your phone’s screen is not relaxing. There’s research indicating that the light from your phone’s screen can trick your body into thinking that it’s daytime. If your body thinks it’s daytime, it’s going to resist sleep even more. If at all possible, put your phone in another room, or at least put it across the room so you can’t easily access it from your bed.
As far as stress goes, it’s easy to say, “reduce the stress in your life,” but it’s harder to make sure that truly happens. The fact is, life tends to ebb and flow, and some days, weeks, and even years will be quite stressful. Talk therapy is a great resource for people who just want a safe place to share all their worries. The simple act of voicing your concerns can go a long way towards helping them seem less scary. There’s also exercise. If you’re sleepless in St. Paul, dance lessons could be just the thing to help you rest better. See, exercise produces endorphins in our brain, and endorphins make us happy. Performing a physical activity during the day also makes our body tired, and a tired body plus a happy mind means you’ll be more likely to doze off a few minutes after crawling into bed.
Most people have trouble sleeping occasionally. If you’re suffering from insomnia constantly and nothing seems to help, it may be time to see a sleep disorder specialist. Insomnia isn’t the only sleep disorder; things like sleep apnea can make you feel tired and agitated even when you think you got plenty of rest. Outside factors can contribute to sleep disorders, too. If you’re in a northern climate where the sun sets early in winter, that may mess up your body’s natural cycle. If you’re living in the Garden State, you may need to look into New Jersey sleep disorder assessment and treatment. Falling asleep too early or late is a real issue, and it’s especially frustrating for your body to want to fall asleep at 7 o’clock in the morning, since that’s when most people are getting up and starting their day.