Is there anything more fundamental to your mental and physical well-being than sleep? Almost certainly not. But according to the latest data, most people aren’t nearly getting enough of the stuff. That’s a problem. According to Dr Joyce Walsleben and NYU, going without sleep has serious consequences for your body. Sleep deprivation is just as damaging as eating a diet that’s high in fat and sugar. She points out that going without sleep for extended periods of time is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. These are all hallmarks of a damaging Western lifestyle.
In the modern world, it can be difficult for us to get the sleep that we need. So here are some strategies to help you sleep better. Consider this post a wake-up call.
Your Mind Is Hyperactive
We dedicate a lot of space on this blog to talking about yoga and meditation. The idea here is to free our minds of all the negative thoughts that sabotage our personal happiness. The problem for many people, however, is that they can get into the habit of ruminating over negative thoughts. These negative thoughts can then keep you alert and focused, precisely when you should be winding down to go to sleep. Over time, you begin to associate your bed and your bedroom with rumination and fretful thoughts. This, in turn, makes it harder to go to sleep.
Walsleben has a solution. She says that people who lie in bed worrying should immediately move to another part of the house, leaving the lights off. She says this will help you stop associating your bed with anxiety.
You Are In Pain
Back pain is thought to affect nearly 60 percent of adults at some point in their lives and it can make it very difficult to sleep. The Mayo Clinic has suggested that people make changes to their sleeping position to help reduce back pain. They recommend that people who sleep on their side draw their legs towards their chest and put a pillow between their legs. For those who sleep on their back, the suggestion is to put a pillow under the knees to reduce the curvature of the back.
People who suffer from back pain also need to investigate whether the problem is caused by their beds. There’s a well established link between back pain and mattresses. If you’ve got a low-quality mattress, it might be time to swap it out for something better.
There’s A Constant Glow In Your Bedroom
During the day, the ambient light from streetlights or your alarm clock might seem trivial. But at night, they can be very bright indeed. There’s evidence that even a small amount of light at night can affect your sleeping patterns. According to Amy Wolfson, author of The Woman’s Book of Sleep, these lights tell your brain it’s time to wake up.
The good news is that the fix is easy. Stop using bright alarm clocks and get thicker curtains to block out the light from streetlights.