If you find yourself crawling into bed and waking up grumpy, there’s a big chance that you’re not getting enough sleep. Unless you want to slip out of sanity like Christian Bale’s insomniac character in “The Machinist”, sufficient hours of slumber should be part of your daily routine, even if you live in a busy and noisy city.
Reasons Why “Sleeping Is For Losers” is a Fallacy
Aggressive individuals may try to convince you that a little rest is detrimental to success, but that mindset is so far from the truth. Being too busy with work or partying until the wee hours may sound beneficial, but these are all bad behaviors.
In a 2014 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 35 percent of adults in the U.S. are sleep-deprived – that is, less than 7 hours of sleep a day. If the U.S. government considers this fact alarming, then so should we.
More than feeling tired or grumpy, sleep deprivation may lead to a number of health issues such as increased blood pressure and weakened immune system. It also increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Poor brain functioning
Have you noticed a lower sense of focus when you haven’t slept well the night before? Sleep deprivation causes this phenomenon, as well as similar brain-related functions like memory and concentration. These may increase the likelihood of accidents.
If you failed to save a girl’s digits in your phone, chances are you’ve already forgotten her number if you didn’t sleep enough. In other words, lack of sleep is bad for your dating prospects!
If you find yourself going all Hulk during an early morning meeting, that may be a sign of poor sleep. That’s because the body isn’t able to replenish energy and hormones enough to stabilize the entire system. Think of it as a computer network going haywire because of a code that hasn’t been updated.
Causes of Sleeplessness
One of the worst culprits of sleep deprivation is noise. Can you imagine sleeping beside a train station, near a grumpy dog barking round the clock, or in constant exposure to plane noise pollution?
Alcohol is another flagrant factor for bad sleeping patterns. Studies have shown that alcohol messes with your sleep, mainly due to the fact that booze stimulates your brain at the onset.
(Of course, this relationship between alcohol and sleep isn’t exact science yet, so feel free to experiment. Tell us your findings!)
Other causes of sleeplessness are:
Stimulant medication: Some drugs produce side effects that may keep you awake at night. Better check with your doctor if the medication can affect your sleeping patterns. If so, ask for alternative medicines that won’t prevent your trip to dreamland.
Medical condition: That dastardly cough or an asthma attack will definitely keep your eyes wide awake. The same goes with pain related with certain medical conditions.
Visual wake-me-uppers: Keeping the TV on – and especially when the sound is on full blast – won’t give you the sleep that you need. Some people, meanwhile, cannot sleep in a room where there’s too much movement or vibrant colors.
5 Tips on How to Get That Peaceful Sleep
You don’t have to suffer sleepless nights when living in the city. Check out these techniques to enhance the quality of your rest as you sleep:
1. Design your bedroom for sleeping
This tip may sound too whimsically obvious, but some people inadvertently fall into design fails when it comes to the bedroom. Make sure that your bedroom is a quiet oasis so that you can achieve a peaceful and restful sleep at night.
One of the easiest and most foolproof ways to turn your bedroom into a sleeping paradise is to use soothing colors. Choosing the right color for your room can encourage you to be more relaxed and comfortable.
For instance, light blue or green are more soothing and comfortable than any other color palettes. Try to stick to a single color than have a mural of wild colors on your wall that could liven up your senses the whole night.
2. Keep your smartphone out of reach
Mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook timeline isn’t going to solve your sleeplessness. The same goes with playing a quick mobile game – you’ll realize later on that you’ve been playing for hours!
One of the reasons why using the smartphone makes you an insomniac is something called blue light. Smartphone LED screens are illuminated by blue light, which some studies say can increase attention span and alertness. In short, as you continue using your mobile while in bed, expect your sleeping patterns to get disrupted.
The best solution? Put your smartphone away from the bed. Instead of putting it on a bedside table or beside your head pillow, stash the phone in a place where you need to stand up in order to use it.
BONUS TIP: This is also effective if you want to make sure that you wake up to the sound of the alarm. Imagine having to get out of bed just to turn the alarm off. That’s bound to keep you up in no time!
3. Use incense and scents that invite you to calm down
Certain scents can help you fall asleep. They do this by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as promoting brain activity that leads you to sleep. Choose relaxing scents that have been proven to effectively bring people to slumber such as chamomile, lavender, jasmine, bergamot, sandalwood, and rose.
If putting on scented candles or oil diffusers don’t feel right with you, try dabbing a few drops of any of these oils on your wrists, rubbing them together, and sniffing the scent.
In the same fashion, steer clear of odors that can keep you awake throughout the night. Here are some of the scents known to be perk-me-uppers:
Coffee: For some people, taking a whiff of coffee can already bring their energy up.
Citrus: Orange and lemon have a slightly sour aroma that will keep you awake.
Peppermint: This scent is perfect for sleepy afternoons, if you want to stay awake during a meeting. It’s not helpful, though, if you want to sleep.
Rosemary: The natural aroma of this herb can bring your physical and mental energy up.
Marijuana: While some people vouch for the effectiveness of pot to induce sleep, a 2016 study by researchers from Boston University discovered that daily use of marijuana makes insomnia more severe.
4. Sleep in your birthday suit
Low temperature can bring your energy level down several notches, prompting you to sleep better. Although some people find it comforting to wear thick PJs and heavy blankets, the heat buildup may make it difficult for you to reach slumberland.
Some people swear by sleeping naked. The main reason behind the effectiveness of this approach is temperature – sleeping without any clothes on will bring your temperature down faster.
5. Do something absolutely boring
You’ve probably been to situations where you’re supposed to be wide awake but your body is slowly cradling its way to sleep. Why don’t you apply the same principle when you’re having trouble sleeping?
Activities that will bore you to death are extremely affective strategies to bring you to sleep faster. Here are some yawn-inducing things that you can do before sleeping:
Listen to a podcast of a lecture that you don’t understand (and choose a speaker with a low, dragging voice).
Read a book that never fails to make you sleepy after reading just a few pages.
Count in reverse from a big number (say, 400) to one.
As a final note, you need to discipline yourself to sleep in regular schedules and for at least 7 hours. Start by avoiding mindless mobile browsing and putting your work laptop away from the bed.
By following the tips above, you’re allowing yourself to get the perfect amount and quality of sleep each night. That way, you can wake up feeling fresh and becoming more productive at work, instead of your crabby and sleep-deprived past self who’s ready to throw a fit at any time!