sleep

Are You Sleep Deprived? 5 Tips for Consistent Restful Sleep

The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimate that at least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleep issues. Moreover, the CDC recently concluded in their first nationwide study on self-reported healthy sleep duration that more than one-third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. I am one of those people.

For as long as I can remember, I have had trouble getting consistent restful sleep. Throughout childhood, I was very much “that child” who was never tired come bedtime — except I really wasn’t and would contentedly occupy myself until I finally fell asleep, whenever that happened to be. As a teenager, my dad would say goodnight to me when he went to bed at midnight every night and I would stay up playing on the computer or doing whatever else teenage me was up to those days. Most recently, due to the fact that I work from home, and have throughout the majority of my adult life, not only does the sporadic bout of insomnia still hit, but establishing and keeping up with a normal sleep schedule is something I consistently struggle with.

Aside from chemical imbalances and sleep disorders, there are a number of reasons why people typically experience sleeplessness. Stress is a major factor for many, as well as the amount of caffeine and/or alcohol you may consume regularly. Not to be forgotten are those that have unfortunately chosen incorrect mattresses on which to sleep because they didn’t read which would be the best mattress for them to get a full night’s sleep. If you are one of the millions of sleep-deprived Americans out there craving some quality shut-eye, here are five things you can do to achieve a more consistent and restful sleep.

1. Make Sleep a Priority

In December 2010, Arianna Huffington spoke at TED Women about the power of a good night’s sleep. After collapsing from exhaustion in 2007 while working to build her wildly popular news and opinion website, The Huffington Post, she began the journey of rediscovering the value of sleep.

Somewhere along the way, we as a culture have come to believe that in order to be successful and accomplish the things we set out to do, we must sleep less. In actuality, however, the key to a more productive, inspired, and joyful life is sleep.

Researchers have found connections between lack of sleep and high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, depression, poor memory, and an overall shortened lifespan. Not getting enough sleep is literally killing us, and it’s imperative that we make sleep a priority in our lives. Instead of staying up those few extra hours into the night to finish some task you’ve fooled yourself into thinking you need to get done right now, look at it with fresh eyes in the morning — your well-being and that task you’ve finished better than you would have on no sleep will thank you.

2. Implement a Bedtime Routine

You may have a bedtime routine for your child, but it’s just as important to have one for yourself. Winding down from a particularly hectic or stressful day can be challenging, and it’s common to be surprised by how late it has gotten when you’ve just begun to gather yourself again. Giving yourself a bedtime (yes, really!) and dedicating the hour before bed to preparing your mind and body for sleep can significantly improve the amount and quality of the rest you get.

Try taking a hot bath, playing some of your favorite calming music, old-fashioned of (decaffeinated) tea, doing gentle upper-body stretches or meditation, reading a good old fashioned paper book (we’ll cover why in the next point), knitting, or any other relaxing activity you enjoy.

3. Power Down the Gadgets

Our gadgets have significantly improved our work and social lives, but they are wreaking havoc on our sleep.

Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by the screens of our cell phones, tablets, computers, and televisions promote wakefulness by restraining the production of melatonin — the natural hormone that helps control sleep and wake cycles — making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Additionally, whether we’re answering a few last-minute emails, chatting with a friend, scrolling through social media, or watching a movie, our brains are being engaged and tricked into thinking we need to stay awake longer, ultimately robbing us of the precious hours of sleep we could be getting. After being connected to one device or another all day, our brains need rest by disconnecting from technology for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

Ideally, your bedroom should be a device-free zone. Even if you’re not using your cell phone before bed, it can still disrupt your sleep. Many people keep their phones with them in bed so that their alarm can wake them in the morning, but if your alarm sound is on, your phone can also alert you to texts, emails, calls, and the myriad of notifications you receive. These chirps, dings, and rings will wake you up, or at the very least, subconsciously disrupt your REM sleep.

4. Limit Heavy Meals and Caffeine Before Bed

Food is energy, and eating a large meal before bed will only give your body energy it doesn’t need, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it is when we stock up on the fuel we need — in the form of larger, protein-rich meals — in order to be energized and alert throughout the day. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived tend to eat more fatty foods, simple carbohydrates, and fewer vegetables. Making poor nutrition choices and eating late into the night could lead to sleeplessness. Additionally, caffeine and sugar are stimulants and their effects on the body last for several hours. Because of this, your mid-afternoon jolt could be hindering your ability to fall asleep at night, so it’s best to limit the stimulants you are giving your body and to be mindful of the time when you’re thinking about whether or not you should pour yourself that second cup of coffee.

5. Supplement Your Sleep

Natrol Melatonin

As mentioned above, melatonin is a natural hormone produced in the brain that helps control sleep and wake cycles by reacting to darkness and light. When it’s dark outside, your melatonin levels rise and last for about 12 hours, making you feel tired, go to sleep, and stay asleep throughout the night. But sometimes our hormones can get a little out of whack and lead to occasional sleeplessness. When this happens, a melatonin supplement may help balance the melatonin levels in your body so that you can fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.

Natrol Melatonin

Natrol Melatonin

Natrol Melatonin is a drug-free sleep aid that promotes healthy sleep patterns and a more relaxed night’s sleep. It supports combating sleeplessness, jet lag, and annual time changes (like Daylight Savings Time coming up on Sunday). It also assists in establishing normal sleeping patterns, which I have so desperately needed in my life.

Natrol Melatonin is available in two varieties:

Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve: a 5mg (also available in 10mg) fast dissolve tablet that dissolves on the tongue quickly — nothing to swallow, no water needed — so you can take it anytime, anywhere.

Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep: a 10mg 2-layer controlled release tablet that gives you the initial 5mg dosage to help you fall asleep fast and then releases the remaining 5mg dosage over time to help you sleep through the night.

Key Benefits of Natrol Melatonin:

  • 100% drug-free and non-habit forming
  • Supports an overall better sleep
  • Helps regulate healthy sleeping patterns
  • Wake up refreshed in the morning — no more “sleep hangovers”
  • 100% vegetarian

Want to give Natrol Melatonin a try and start waking up on the right side of the bed? Snag this $2 off coupon! Natrol is available at mass-market retailers, drug stores, online retailers, and natural food and supplement stores. Look for the purple bottle.

For more information on Natrol and their line of products, visit them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and share great health tips on Pinterest.

*Natrol Melatonin contains wheat and soy
*This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases

25 thoughts on “Are You Sleep Deprived? 5 Tips for Consistent Restful Sleep”

  1. I used to have an issue with my sleep. I can’t seem to get enough hours in. There were times wherein I’d sleep for 2-4 hours at night and that’s it. These days I make sure I follow a schedule so I can get enough sleep.

  2. sleep deprivation is something that I live with daily. As a nurses aide I never know when I will be called in. In addition I am a mother of 6 children all of which are grown and I have 3 grandchildren I help raise 2 of them. Love your tips but the thing is I have to find the time to sleep in my busy life . I am going to try your tips numbe 1 sounds great
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  3. My sleep is very messed up. I wish I could put your tips and suggestions to good use. I have an 8 month old so until she sleeps through the night I can’t really do much to improve things.

  4. Thanks for suggestions! I didn’t know about Natrol melatonin benefits, seems like a great product that helps sleep better through the night! Thanks for the coupon!

  5. For my insomniac like evenings, I’ll turn stuff off and have a shot of something good and I’m sleep. Turning off the stuff does work!

  6. Sleep is so important! I am glad you shared…my family and I try to set firm routines especially for the kids to keep everyone rested now that they aren’t as young.

  7. Ughhh I’m definitely someone who suffers from not enough sleep!!!! I take cherry juice “shots” every night and it helps a lot.

  8. These are all great tips to get a restful sleep. I will share this with my husband and my mom who is having difficulty sleeping. If I could only give them a fraction of my sleepiness, I would! Maybe they could start off with having a bedtime routine.

  9. I may or may not be sleep deprived. If left to my own devices I am not. However it is my cat who decides when I sleep and when I wake up and as a result I end up napping along with her during the day at times.

  10. HMMMMM its the gadgets that gets me all the time, or I get stuck into a good book and lose all track of time and before I know it is 1am or more…

    Great tips thanks for sharing.

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