It’s no surprise that Americans struggle to get the recommended minimum amount of sleep. In fact, a recent study showed that 15% of women and 10% of men indicated that they generally feel tired throughout their days. Worse, 1 in 25 drivers fall asleep while driving. (CDC, 2018).
Though these findings are problematic, there are many health-related habits that can correct ongoing tiredness. First, it’s important to get 8 hours of quality rest every night. One way to help you get the rest you need is to make sleep a priority. Set a sleep regimen that you can maintain regularly. Our bodies tend to appreciate giving it what it needs, particularly in dependable intervals. Make it a priority to get those 8 hours of sleep, and at the same time, if possible.
Be mindful that around noon you should start to limit caffeinated beverages or snacks so that there isn’t problems falling asleep when it’s time to. Caffeine can take 6 to 8 hours to fully wear off, so at noon you should begin to cut off your caffeine intake for that day.
If you are particularly stressed or work right up until bedtime, you might have a few lingering thoughts or stimuli that will impede your ability to fall asleep. You might be thinking about deadlines or all that you want to accomplish the next day, plus being exposed to the artificial blue lights from your computer, cell phone, or tablet will interfere with the body’s ability to distinguish nighttime from daytime, thus confusing your sleep-wake cycle and making it hard for your body recognize that it’s time to go to sleep. If you can write yourself a note of things on your mind and be done with it and reduce technological lighting before bed, you’ll have more successful sleep. As for the stress, if you find that you’re too preoccupied with thoughts, this might be a symptom of anxiety and your physician might need to refer you to a mental health professional for further evaluation.
Feeling chronically tired or fatigued is also a symptom of a thyroid gland that isn’t working optimally. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid is under-active in producing needed hormones for the body to respond in the ways needed daily. If you feel particularly fatigued, have experienced weight gain, and just don’t feel quite like yourself due to low hormones, then it would be advisable to have your thyroid tested.
Poor nutrition can also make you feel sluggish throughout the day. Our bodies need a certain amount of nutrients each day in order to work well. If you don’t get all of these nutrients daily, you run the risk of forcing your body to take nutrients from your bones, fat, or organs. It is never a good thing when your body raids itself to get what it needs. If you run in such a nutrient-deficient manner for too long, your body will be deficient in all sorts of ways until you get back to the recommended nutrition. On a daily basis, we all require protein, healthy fats, lots of fiber, fruits, vegetables, and just a touch of sugar or salt. We also need lots of water.
Lastly, a sedentary lifestyle makes for poor energy. Our bodies are intended to move around quite a bit, every day. When we neglect to move our bodies in this capacity, we start on a downward slope of energy preservation. Strive to get roughly 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day, and get your heartrate up to its optimal target rate and stay there so that the heart gets the workout it needs to stay strong and to work optimally. Exercise also helps deliver oxygen to needed areas. For example, aerobic exercise gets the oxygenated blood flowing out well to areas where circulation might be poor or under-delivered.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as a priority so that your sleep quality is maintained. If you feel like you are doing everything mentioned here, but are still suffering from poor sleep, perhaps it’s time to ask for a sleep study when you next see your physician. Many insurance companies cover an initial sleep study. In summary, regular sleep, being ready for sleep with limited stimuli beforehand, limiting caffeine, eating properly, and daily movement and exercise all plays a part in helping you get a restorative sleep every night.
Center for Disease Control, 2018. Sleep Home Page. www.cdc.gov>sleep