It happens to so many of us. We get into bed with the best of intentions, only to wake up the next morning feeling not rested, groggy, or at worst, sleepless. The subsequent effects of this drive us to partake in unhealthy habits— increased caffeine or sugar consumption and diminished functionality— side effects such as lack of focus and lessened productivity at work or home abound. You’re just always tired.
Most of us yearn for that perfect amount of time that allows us to feel ready to face and conquer the next day— and then feel frustrated when it doesn’t begin as we had hoped. We face so many time constraints and personal concerns that it’s not surprising that they consume not only our waking hours but also our ability to sleep well throughout the night.
You don’t have to be drained of energy every day. There are a few easy ways to get started in your quest for better rest. It begins with identifying problems you may be facing and not even realizing— gain more energy and vitality by examining what habits are hindering you.
Sleeping Too Many or Too Few Hours
As much as we hate to say it, there is such a thing as too much sleep. Seven hours in the new normal, and recommended, amount of time to give our systems’ the proper down time to decompress and recuperate. Many of us have trouble finding the balance between too little and enough sleep. It becomes less about time and more about choices, however. Create healthy habits each night that will eventually become second nature. A good laugh on a late night show, or that midnight bowl of mint chocolate chip, might sound like a perfect indulgence—but a great rest will revive you in a way that no temporary sweet or treat can.
Lack of Proper Nutrients/Water
The right balance of a wholesome diet and consuming enough water can have an incredible impact to overall health. Take the time to identify resources that will help lead you to the most valuable information for your lifestyle and life stage and put together a plan that works for you. And, of course, getting enough exercise is important too. Making time for fitness will not only make you look and feel better about yourself, you may even be ready to hit the bed a little earlier and rest a little easier.
Too Much Brain Activity before Bed
Our brains are on digital overload, with an incredibly large amount of our time dedicated to staring at a screen— we begin to be desensitized to the fact that it affects more than just our attention span— it creates havoc in our head when we’re trying to fall asleep. Many of us are guilty of answering emails, catching up on TV shows or reading our tablets right before bed. Make sure to unplug at least 30 minutes beforehand, you’re brain will be ready for rest much quicker.
Problems at work, money issues, or a family crisis— there are hundreds of examples of common worries we all face each and every day. The extra mental stress takes a toll on your system in so many ways, one of which is sleep. If tossing, turning and the dreaded watching the clock is your nightly routine, change up your before-bed time. Try a healthy exercise like a worry meditation or writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal for a few minutes. These exercises may help you ‘let it go’ until tomorrow.
Underlying Health Issue
Good sleep goes hand-and-hand with good health. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t find a reason for your mental fog or run-down state. Although a less common reason for feeling tired, illnesses like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be a real problem. If you’ve changed your habits, diet, and disruptive sleep patterns, talk to your doctor about it on your next visit—it will give you peace of mind and the opportunity to really identify the cause of the problem.
Taking the time to examine and identify patterns that may be harmful to your sleep cycle is essential to a happy, healthy life. Small changes can yield great results— increasing your alertness and general disposition in your waking hours. Make whatever was keeping you from getting the proper amount of sleep a bad dream of the past. It’s time to give your brain and body the proper starting rest right now.