By Mira Nevins
It may sound obvious, but people need their sleep. Have you ever been woken up by your alarm in the morning, just to hit the snooze button? Or maybe it’s late at night and you’re tired, but you can’t get off of your phone just yet. On average, according to Sleephealth.org, 70 percent of people in America argue that they do not get enough sleep.
Whether this is you or not, here are five ways you can combat sleep deprivation.
Melatonin is a natural sleep supplement that is intended for temporary use to combat insomnia. Our bodies naturally produce melatonin in the form of a hormone only released at night, which controls the body’s sleep-wake cycle. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Evidence suggests that melatonin supplements promote sleep and are safe for short-term use. Melatonin can be used to treat delayed sleep phase and circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and provide some insomnia relief.” Melatonin is often sold in doses of 1-10 mg. If you are first starting out, I recommend taking a 3mg supplement, as the 1 mg is meant for small children.
No phones 30 minutes before bedtime:
This one can be difficult for many people. It is often a habit to stay on devices up until it is time to turn off the lights. Research from SCl health shows that blue light emitted from phone screens restrains the natural production of melatonin. Further studies have shown that exposure to blue light can damage retinas. That is why it is best to stay off any devices around 30 minutes before bedtime.
Cut down on caffeine:
This one may seem obvious but it is still very important. Caffeine is often found in soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks, and even in chocolate. It acts as a stimulant to the brain and central nervous system. Studies from the Mayo Clinic have shown that people should avoid caffeine consumption four to six hours before bed. For many people, this would be at around four or five o’clock. Overconsumption of caffeine can also lead to high blood pressure and brain damage.
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule:
Getting enough sleep is important, but going to bed at the same time every night is arguably just as important. When you create a sleep schedule that consists of going to bed and waking up at the same time, overtime your body will adjust to it. Not only does this provide better sleep, but you will wake up with more energy.
All tobacco products, including cigarettes, non-smoking tobacco, and even e-cigarettes all contain nicotine. While nicotine is bad for obvious reasons, it can also disrupt your sleep. It raises the body’s heart rate and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Nicotine can also cause you to wake up frequently throughout the night, and even sleep lighter.
So while all of these may work, none of them may work either. These solutions are affordable and cause no harm to the body, so do not be afraid to experiment with them.