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How To Sleep Less And Feel Better

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What Do My Habits Have To Do With It

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Some people lay in bed staring at the ceiling in part due to chronic pain, depression, medications or other substances that can interfere with sleep. When you treat those issues, often it will naturally help improve your ability to sleep.

However, despite addressing other medical or psychiatric conditions, sleep difficulties often will persist. People who have chronic insomnia worry excessively about sleep and the effects of insomnia. They also become more and more agitated and tense as bedtime gets closer.

If youre very worried about getting good sleep, you can put a lot of effort into getting sleep and have a lot of anxiety at night, says Dr. Drerup. This makes you more alert and can keep you lying in bed wide awake.

Get Sunlight Every Morning

If you dont commute to work, it can be easy to spend your entire mornings inside. But exposure to sunlight serves an important purpose: It shuts down the release of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Most brain fog in the morning is caused by continued melatonin production, said Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and the author of The Power of When. When sunlight hits your eye, it sends a signal to your brain to tell the melatonin faucet to turn off. Aim to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight first thing every morning.

Sleepless Nights Try Stress Relief Techniques

In a recent national survey, 44 percent of adults said stress had causedsleepless nights at least once in the previous month. All that tossing,turning and staring at the ceiling can leave you feeling tired andmore stressed the next day. If youre caught in this vicious cycle ofanxiety and insomnia, theres good news: Simple stress relief techniquescan help you sleep better and feel calmer.

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Deep Sleep Memory Hack

In an experiment, when individuals were exposed to the scent of roses during a memory task and exposed to this smell again during deep sleep, it reinforced the memory. So, if you’ve got an exam or presentation coming up, try using scents as you memorize information and again as you sleep to help you reinforce what you’ve learned!

Cut Off Caffeine At 2 Pm

Your Sleep Issues Resolved

Caffeine has a half-life of six to eight hours and a quarter-life of about 12 hours. That means that if you drink coffee at 4 p.m., youll still have a quarter of the caffeine floating around in your brain at 4 a.m., said Dr. Breus. Avoiding caffeine in the evening is a no-brainer. But ideally you should steer clear of caffeine after 2 p.m. so your body has enough time to metabolize and clear most of it from your system.

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Stick To A Consistent Bed Routine

It might sound simple, but keeping up a consistent bedtime routine will help your body develop better sleep habits.

Pamela adds: Other helpful things include: not eating too close to bedtime try and leave a two hour gap between that last mouthful and tucking yourself up in bed and reduce screen time in the evenings and use table lamps to keep artificial light low-level.

And try not to stimulate your brain too close to sleep time listening to an audiobook in bed, rather than reading a physical book, is much more relaxing.

Exercise For Better Sleep

The pandemic led people to cut back on physical activity. But exercise is the easiest way to improve sleep, said Dr. Breus. Sleep is recovery, he added. If you dont have anything to recover from, your sleep isnt going to be that great. At least 29 studies have found that daily exercise, regardless of the type or intensity, helps people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, especially among people who are middle-aged or older. According to the Sleep Foundation, people with chronic insomnia can fall asleep about 13 minutes faster and gain up to 20 extra minutes of sleep per night by starting an exercise routine. One caveat: End your exercise at least four hours before bedtime, otherwise it could interfere with your sleep by raising your core body temperature, said Dr. Breus.

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Why You Need Enough Sleep

First, lets back up for a minute. Why is getting enough sleepwhatever enough might mean!so important?

For starters, sleep is the brains equivalent of you vegging out on the couch in front of the TV at night. It offers a short respite against the daily grind, helping you clear your head and get ready to take on the next busy day.

Getting enough sleep allows you to be better at learning and solving problems, helps you pay attention and make decisions, and even think creatively. It keeps you on an even emotional keel, too. People who are sleep deficient are more likely to be depressed or engage in risky behavior.

And there are physical benefits. Sleep is the time when your body performs heavy-duty repairs on your hard-working heart and blood vessels, which is partly why too little is linked to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Regular snooze fests also work to strengthen your immune system, so youre less likely to get sick.

The nightly visit to dreamland also helps keep your waistline in check, since sleep helps strike a healthy balance between the hormones that make you feel hungry or full.

Finally, getting enough sleep can keep you safe. Being well-rested means youre more alert, so youre less likely to get drowsy while youre driving.

Eat Small Frequent Meals

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“Eating small frequent meals will keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day,” Lauren Manganiello, registered dietitian-nutritionist, told INSIDER. “When we have long periods of time between eating, our blood sugar levels drop and can make us feel even more fatigued or tired and then overeat.”

Registered dietitian-nutritionist Jessica Cording agreed and suggested having five or six small meals as opposed to three main meals. “If you’re spacing out what you’re eating throughout the day, you’re going to get a little bit more stable energy in shorter bursts,” she told INSIDER.

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Stop Stand And Shut Down

While racing through your work, it is good once in a while to pause, halt, and take a break. If you spend long hours in front of the computer screen, it is a good idea to take your eyes off the monitor at regular intervals and stare at something greenand, of course, we mean the plant on your desk or in the office corridors and not the emerald necklace your coworker is wearing. You can also stand and take a short round on the office flooror simply visit the restroom for a stroll. If that seems too much, or you fear disturbing your colleagues, simply pull your chair back and stretch your arms front and back, signaling your brain to prepare for the relay ahead.
This helps to regulate the blood circulation to your body and signals positivity to your brain- a lot accomplished but more ahead.

A Body Scan Exercise To Help You Sleep

  • Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes closed. Focus on your breathing for about two minutes until you start to feel relaxed.
  • Turn your focus to the toes of your right foot. Notice any tension while continuing to also focus on your breathing. Imagine each deep breath flowing to your toes. Remain focused on this area for at least three to five seconds.
  • Move your focus to the sole of your right foot. Tune in to any sensations you feel in that part of your body and imagine each breath flowing from the sole of your foot. Then move your focus to your right ankle and repeat. Move to your calf, knee, thigh, hip, and then repeat the sequence for your left leg. From there, move up your torso, through your lower back and abdomen, your upper back and chest, and your shoulders. Pay close attention to any area of the body that feels tense.
  • After completing the body scan, relax, noting how your body feels. You should feel so relaxed you can easily fall asleep.

For a bedtime sleep meditation that uses deep breathing, mindfulness, and body scan techniques to help you wind down and clear your head, .

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Try To Keep A Positive Mindset

Self-care expert and founder of BlissBox Shareen Kullar explains that our mindset and the way we think also has an impact on our bodies.

She says: For example if you are thinking negative thoughts, your body will tense. And if you are thinking negative thoughts for a whole day, then your body has been tense for a whole day.

Think about how much energy you are wasting doing this. Giving the mind space and a positive environment saves energy your body will be more relaxed and, as a result, you will be more relaxed and happier.

A positive mindset takes discipline. As humans, we are drawn to negativity, whether it be negative news or negative feedback or a bit of drama, she continues.

But choosing to be in a good and positive mood will increase your energy levels and everyone elses around you. Your energy is contagious choose it wisely.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing .

Hormones That Regulate Sleep Cycles

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There are various neurotransmitters and hormones released by the brain that send signals to promote sleep or wakefulness. Many of these chemicals are stimulated by light or darkness.

  • GABA is a neurotransmitter that decreases nerve cell activity, playing a major role in allowing the body to sleep.
  • Adenosine is another neurotransmitter that gradually accumulates in the brain during the day, and at high concentrations makes us sleepy at night. Caffeine in coffee and other beverages can keep us awake as it blocks brain receptors for adenosine.
  • Melatonin is a hormone released by the brain when it is dark. It travels to cells to tell the body to sleep. Sunlight or exposure to light inhibits the production of melatonin and increases the release of cortisol, which awakens us. If we are exposed to too much artificial light late at night, less melatonin may be released making it harder to fall asleep.
  • Serotonin, the bodyâs âfeel-goodâ chemical, is a neurotransmitter associated with both sleep and being awake. The brain releases this chemical during daylight but also uses it to form melatonin at night.
  • Hormones that counteract sleep include norepinephrine, adrenaline, histamine, and cortisol. These are secreted in response to stress and cause the body to be awake and alert. If one experiences prolonged or chronic stress, the body releases adrenocorticotropic hormone , which in turn releases cortisol. Levels of ACTH tend to be higher in people who have insomnia.

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Sleep Less But Feel Refreshed

Our society admires people who sleep less and work more. However, when you add productivity into the equation, you realize that failing to get enough sleep can be counterproductive. But if you have so much on your plate and less time to accomplish it, you can train your brain to replenish itself with less hours of sleep. Over time you can adhere to a regimen that helps your body and brain to feel relaxed, fall asleep quickly, and make the fewer hours you sleep count.

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What Are The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On Academic Performance

The researchers concluded that sleep loss was negatively correlated with academic performance. They found that sleep-deprived students performed poorly on learning capacity skills such as attention, memory, and problem-solving tasks, and that the lack of sleep therefore affected their academic performance.

When To See A Doctor

Sleep less but feel better

If you are unable to change your sleeping habits, and find yourself unable to get out of bed with less than 10 or 12 hours of sleep a night, talk to your doctor.

You should also see your doctor if you always feel tired in the morning, regardless of how much sleep you had.

Chronic insomnia is a medical condition that can be treated. If lifestyle habits are not enough to improve the quality of your sleep, a doctor may be able to help.

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Dont Forcefully Deny Yourself Sleep

How much sleep your body needs depends on the level of physical activity you perform. There is no need to fix the quantum of either food or sleep. When your activity levels are low, you eat less. When they are high, you may eat more. The same goes for sleep. The moment the body is well rested it will get up, whether at 3 AM or 8 AM. Your body should not wake up to an alarm bell. Once it feels sufficiently rested, it must come awake.

If you forcefully deny sleep to the body, your physical and mental capabilities and whatever else you have will drop. You should never do that. You must give the body how much sleep it needs.

But if the body is somehow trying to use the bed as a grave, it wont want to come out. Someone will have to raise you from the dead! It depends on how you are handling your life. If you are in a mental state where you want to avoid life, you will naturally tend to eat and sleep more.

Get Out Of Bed When You Wake Up

If youre addicted to your snooze button, give up those extra 10 minutes to get into a better routine. This may be especially true if you wake up naturally before your alarm goes off. Your body may be telling you that you dont need any more sleep. You can reinforce that by getting out of bed and starting your day.

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Give Yourself Time To Wind Down

The goal here is to train your body to fall asleep when youre tired. One way to do that is by giving yourself ample time to relax at night before lights out. Try turning your home, or at least your bedroom, from a brightly lit, daytime environment to a cozy and restful nighttime one.

Around an hour before you want to fall asleep dim the lights, and begin transitioning to your sleep routine. This might include washing your face, brushing your teeth, and getting out of work clothing into pajamas.

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Light exposure during bedtime makes it for your brain to produce enough sleep-inducing melatonin. Even if you fall asleep with lights on, you will have difficulties staying asleep as the light will disrupt your stages. Dim lights can help to turn your bedroom into a cozy and restful environment. Exposure to light will prevent your body from transitioning onto the deeper sleep levels. If you get shallow sleep at night, the biological functions that take place during the deep levels will be hampered. These include sleep homeostasis and the repair of worn out brain cells.

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Make Your Bed A Haven

Working from home sometimes from our beds has erased a lot of the boundaries between work and sleep. But turning your mattress into an office can condition your brain to view your bed as a place that makes you stressed and alert, which can lead to insomnia. Thats why sleep experts say you have to reserve your bed for two activities only. The bed is for sleeping or sex, said Dr. Rosen. If youre not doing either of those things, then get out of bed. If you have the luxury of going to a different room, then thats even better. You have to break the association of being awake in bed.

How To Sleep Less And Have More Energy

Chronically cutting your sleep short isnt a good idea, but life gets busy and sometimes sleeping adequately isnt possible for a few nights. The more nights you limit your sleep, the more sleep debt youll rack up. As with financial debt, the more sleep debt you have, the harder it is to pay it off.

Theres no magic way to increase your energy while cutting your sleep. However, the following techniques may help you get through short-term periods of sleep deprivation.

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How To Get Better Sleep When Traveling Across Time Zones

As with daylight saving time, traveling across time zones is easier when it means youll be getting some extra sleep. Hence the old saying about travel, West is best. If youre traveling east across one or two time zones, use the tips above to adjust your sleep schedule. For bigger leaps, try these suggestions:

  • Expose yourself to bright light as close to your new morning as possible, but not until it is about two hours before your old wakeup time. If youre traveling east, avoid bright light in the evening.
  • Change your eating schedule to that of your destination.
  • Be prepared for jet-lag symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness, nighttime insomnia, headache, appetite and digestive issues, and mood changes. Melatonin and over-the-counter digestive medications and headache remedies may help ease symptoms.
  • Be patient: Your body clock typically shifts only one or two hours per day, so it may take five days to adjust if youre traveling from America to Japan, for instance.

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