A good night’s sleep, just like proper diet and exercise, is essential to your mental, emotional and physical health.
Yet many people just do not get the seven to eight hours of sleep each night recommended by sleep experts. I know I don’t. Could I use 7-8 hours of sleep? Probably…but as a third shifter….it just doesn’t happen.
Sleep refreshes us like nothing else. It can be occasionally elusive, almost always comforting, and definitely essential to our survival. And although we spend 33% of our lives asleep, we barely give it a moment’s
notice….until we can’t sleep. Then we think about it to the point of obsession.
For millions of people, the consequences of a poor night’s sleep equals higher stress, increased mistakes,
and difficulty concentrating. There are a few things you can do to try and get a great night’s rest. You may be surprised by how your quality of life improves when you learn how to sleep better. However, if you work third, or what they call the ‘graveyard’ shift, getting a good amount of sleep can be difficult. So you may need to adapt your surroundings to make longer sleep periods more achievable.
- Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on the weekends. This will help keep your
biological clock in sync. Because if you are losing sleep through the week, don’t be fooled into thinking if you sleep in on the weekends, you will make up your lost sleep….it never happens. You cannot make up for sleep time lost during the week.
- Develop a sleep ritual by doing the same things each night just before bed. Parents, establish a routine for your kids, try it for yourself because it can help adults, too. A routine lets the body know it is time to settle down for the night.
- Another hint: Unwind early in the evening so that worries and distractions don’t keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
- Finally, create a restful sleep environment – sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room on a comfortable, supportive
mattress and foundation – and keep all electronics out of the bedroom! The bedroom is for sleep and sex only, so that means no televisions, laptops or smartphones.
- If you’re sleeping as much as you need, but still find that you’re sleepy during the day, you should consult your doctor to see if you might have a medical condition interfering with your sleep.
If your mattress is supportive and comfortable, your room is cool, quiet, and free of distractions and you’re still
unable to sleep, you might consider talking to your doctor and maybe try taking a natural sleep aid.
Supplements like melatonin, valerian root, 5-HTP and magnesium and calcium, may help promote healthy sleep
patterns. Likewise, soothing scents like lavender or chamomile may also help induce sleep. Talk to your healthcare
professional about which supplements or sleep solutions may be right for you, especially if you take medications, as some supplements may interfere with prescription medications.
Prescription sleep aids should be used as a last resort to assist with sleeping. Although most are highly effective,
prescription sleep aids are only meant to be used as needed and should not be used long term. These medications have the potential to become addictive, and over time, ineffective unless the dosage increases, which can potentially lead to overdosing.
Hope some of these ideas gives you a better nights (or days) sleep. It all sounds like common sense, but not everything about our lives is common, especially with the overloaded activity schedules we keep and sometimes we just need reminders. Until we next meet, peace, joy and sweet dreams! Deanna