A good night's sleep can sometimes be a luxury in modern life. When stress takes over us, it can affect the quality of our sleep, causing a drop in our energy, mood, concentration, motivation, productivity, and even memory function. If these symptoms persist, it is a telling sign that you are sleep deprived.
A normal sleep cycle alternates between REM sleep and NREM sleep. REM sleep is a deep period of sleep when the brain restores itself. NREM sleep, consisting of four stages, is when our physical recovery takes place.
Ongoing sleep loss or irregular cycling of sleep stages can lead to multiple health problems. Not getting enough sleep weakens your immune system, causing your body to require more time to recover from illness. It may even affect your heart health, as sleep helps to regulate blood pressure and sugar levels. A lack of sleep can also affect your hormonal production, causing weight gains while increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
6 simple ways to combat sleep deprivation
If you are sleep deprived, you don’t have to immediately turn to sleeping pills. Try these four simple habits that can help improve your sleep and keep you refreshed throughout the day.
- Increase your intake of magnesium
Studies have shown that even a marginal lack of magnesium in our diet can make it harder for us to fall asleep. Eat plenty of magnesium-rich food such as green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolates, avocados and almonds to help you fall alseep faster.
- Take computer and phone breaks
Nightime exposure to blue light from our computers and phones can hinder melatonin and affect the quality of our sleep. Try to take time off the screens one hour before you go to bed, and keep your bed phone-free to avoid “social jetlags”.
- Use AYO light based energy glasses
If you are a tech guru, you’ll be happy to learn that AYO uses blue light of a highly specific wavelength and irradiance that has been scientifically proven to be the most effective for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. While electronic devices emit “bad” blue-violet light, AYO emits “good” blue-turquoise light that can reset our body clock back when used in the morning. Fret no more about jet lag and shift work – simply put on a pair of AYO light based energy glasses for 20 minutes before you leave home for work. It will help you stay awake throughout the day and enjoy a good sleep at night.
Natural essential oils are particularly effective in alleviating stress-induced sleep problems. The sweet-smelling scents enter through the nose into the skull to trigger the limbic system and amygdala, which regulate our emotions. Take a load off with a lavender mask before you go to bed; or try the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, a pregnancy-friendly aromatherapeutic superblend of lavender, vetivert and chamomile that is clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Physical activities help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality. Researches have shown that aerobic exercise causes a release in endorphins and a raise in core body temperature. These causes the body to stay in an alert and awake state. After about an hour, as the endorphins level and body temperature fall, the decline helps facilitate sleepiness.
Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia and improves sleep quality by taking away the stress of worrying about a problem or a long to-do list, keeping you focus on the present away from racing thoughts that may rob you of a good night’s sleep. The mind-calming medication also regulates your breathing, conditioning the body for rest time.
Lastly, it’s very important to note you cannot cheat on sleep and get away with it. Keeping bedtime and wake time fairly stable across the week is a good habit for good reasons. Short naps of 15 to 20 minutes may help relieve daytime sleepiness, but shouldn’t interfere with your sleep routine. We all know that sleep is preventive medicine, it’s time to optimize your daily well-being by setting a good sleep habit.