Tired? Well, you’re not alone!

Simon Fragakis's picture

Currently 30% of the US population is sleep deprived according to the CDC (1), and we’re now becoming more tired than ever, especially with increasing work and school demands. This includes everyone, both parents and kids alike. Poor sleep quality and quantity can carry pretty signifant impacts on mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, increased stress hormones, depression and Alzheimer’s disease (2) (3) (4).  It also takes a strong toll on cognition such as executive functioning, memory, and creativity. The tricky part is that sleep deprivation also decreases our self-awareness of our own performance, so we may not be doing as well as we think after only getting a few hours of shut eye! (5)(6)

 

Getting more sleep is a start. It’s recommended that adolescents get a 8-10hrs of sleep per night. For adults, the recommended range is between 7-9hrs (7). However, sleep quality is just as important. Listed below are some great tips to keep in mind in getting a good night’s sleep!

 

Sleep hygiene tips:

  • Make sure that sleep and wake times are as consistent as possible
  • If using a screen prior to sleep, turn off the blue light in the device settings. Blue light communicates to the brain to release chemicals associated with wakefulness.
  • Try not to use screens at least one hr prior to bed time (even with blue light turned off on phone).
  • Don’t charge your phone next to your bed. If possible keep devices out of reach from your bed.
  • Avoid large meals directly prior to sleep
  • Use naps wisely. Naps are great for making up for missed sleep. However, be careful as they can disrupt your circadian rhythm.
  • Keep your room quiet and dark.
  • Although you may love your dog more than people, no pets in the bed.
  • Avoid excessive use of alcohol or caffeine prior to sleep. More, specifically try to limit caffeine to before 2pm. Although you may fall asleep just fine, these substances disrupt your sleep cycles and quality of sleep.

 

If you're still having trouble falling asleep:

  • Make sure the bed is just for sleep! If you have trouble falling asleep, get up and hang out in a pre-determined "cozy spot" (where you can read, draw etc.). After becoming tired, you can return to bed. This helps strengthen the association between your bed and sleep
  • Mindfulness is a great way to relax. Use guided meditation through apps such as Headspace and Insight timer
  • Use imagery and visualization. Imagining calming environments or memories can help calm our thoughts and even serve as a distraction from our worries
  • Utilize deep breathing or paired muscle relation. This helps calm our body through regulating our heart rate.
  • Trying or thinking too hard about falling asleep can make falling asleep harder. Let your body do the work. It is perfectly natural for your body to take time to fall asleep. Some nights it may take longer than others, and that’s ok!