Chronic sleep deprivation has become a worldwide crisis and dealing with it in your everyday life can be a challenge. Coping with sleep deprivation is becoming more and more necessary. The way we work, the stress in our everyday lives, and our need to keep ahead in the world, has many detrimental effects on our health in general.
It can shorten lifespan by weakening the immune system and by stressing the body thereby making it more susceptible to chronic malfunction, such as heart disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation can also cause obesity by disturbing metabolism and causing a reduction in the appetite suppressing hormones. It can also aggravate incontinence problems and cause depression and mood swings.
Where the average night’s sleep was eight hours only a few decades ago, it has now dwindled to around six hours due to a number of factors. These include increased competitiveness in a less stable financial environment and the increase in shift work, where individuals do not have sufficient time to rest between shifts. Our work environment also encourages poor diet which can affect sleep quality as well. Also, the average person ignores how worn his or her mattress can become.
So, how do we cope with our demanding world and still get enough rest?
Coping with sleep deprivation – one way to pay back that sleep debt we accumulate during the week is by getting a full night’s sleep, plus a little more, on our days off. Your brain is designed to make you sleep more deeply to compensate if you have been sleep deprived. This is the reason why it gets harder and harder to wake up each time you don’t get enough sleep. But, this is also good if you go to sleep on a quality mattress and don’t turn on the alarm clock. Just sleep until you wake up.
Try to wind down a couple of hours before bed, this includes giving yourself some time between eating and sleeping. Do something to relax your body and mind, such as reading or listening to soothing music. You can even do this while laying in bed.
Another way to cope is to make sure that you have a comfortable mattress that allows your body to completely rest and minimises tossing and turning. Also, reduce your liquid intake at least an hour before going to sleep. This minimises the chances of breaking up your sleep time with visits to the bathroom.
It’s important to remember that even a small amount of sleep is helpful. Take naps, if you can, and don’t be afraid to close the blinds or turn out the lights and go to bed early.