Whether you’re a student studying late into the night, you’re just starting a new job and trying to impress your boss, or you’re a new parent there are plenty of reasons to struggle to get enough sleep over the course of one’s life. While circumstances may make you feel like a living zombie, though, an important question worth asking is what is really going on when your brain genuinely lacks the sleep that it needs?
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation
The question of what sleep deprivation can do to your body has fairly profound answers. For instance, research has found that a mere lack of sleep can cause your brain cells to literally communicate less effectively (call it second-hand sleep deprivation if you’d like).
Along with literally hampering your ability to think, sleep can also:
- Ramp up your anxiety and stress levels.
- Increase your overall fatigue.
- Make you more irritable.
- Drain your motivation and ability to concentrate.
- Increase your appetite and reduce your sex drive.
While sleep may feel like an easy thing to shove to the backburner, not tending to a good night’s rest can have repercussions that influence nearly every area of your life.
Surviving a Lack of Sleep
If you find that you’re chronically sleep deprived, there are a few things you can do to help survive each exhausting day:
- Drink a caffeinated beverage like coffee or black tea.
- Use light therapy to help you wake up and stay awake.
- Take a power nap.
- Avoid alcohol.
While these can help contain the damage, though, the best solution is to address the problem from its roots.
How to Truly Get Better Sleep
Here are a few ways that you can significantly increase the quality and quantity of your sleep in order to fight the long term effects of sleep deprivation:
Consider Your Quantity of Sleep
If you’re in a confused and overwhelmed phase of life, you may not be taking the time to consider how much sleep you’re actually getting on a regular basis. Slow down and keep track of the amount of sleep you’re getting over the course of a few nights.
Ideally, you should be sleeping between 6 and 8 hours per night. If you aren’t, look for ways to increase your time asleep. If you are, you’re going to want to focus on better quality sleep while you’re in a slumbrous state.
Consider Your Environment
Whether you’re able to get at least 6 hours of sleep per night or not, it’s important to consider the quality of sleep that you’re getting. In order to ensure that you’re taking full advantage of your sleep time, look for ways to create a genuinely peaceful, sleep-focused environment. This can include:
- Hanging blackout curtains in your sleep space.
- Making sure that your sleep space is dedicated to sleep and sleep alone.
- Setting up an essential oil diffuser with an oil like lavender to help promote sleep.
- Avoiding blue light (e.g. screens) before bed.
- Keeping your sleeping space clean and decluttered.
- Making sure your bed is allowing you to rest comfortably.
If you can make an effort to create a “sleep-focused” zone, you’ll be able to make the most of every bit of rest that you can get.
Make Sure You Don’t Have a Sleep Disorder
If you’re struggling with a sleep disorder, the most peaceful bedroom in the world may not solve it. Consider going to a medical professional or even trying SleepScore Checkup to track your sleep for a few weeks and look for signs of a sleep disorder.
While blue light should be avoided before bed, that doesn’t mean technology, in general, can’t help you sleep. If you’re feeling adventurous (or desperate) with your pursuit of better sleep, you can try some cutting-edge tech. The Modius SLEEP headset claims to be able to optimize your sleep without the need for added medication. The device actually stimulates key sleep neurons in your brain that help you fall asleep faster.
Try CBD Oil
If you’re suffering from poor quality sleep, you may want to try a dose of CBD oil to help you drift off to sleep. CBD oil can help restore balance to your endocannabinoid system and can be an excellent natural solution to stronger sleep medications.
Finding Better Sleep
If you’re struggling with poor sleep, it’s important to do something about it sooner rather than later. While there are plenty of short term solutions like pouring another cup of coffee or sitting by a SAD lamp each morning and afternoon, at a certain point it’s essential that you take the battle for better sleep into your own hands.
Whether you’re trying out a low dose of CBD oil, purchasing cutting edge sleep-promotion tech, or simply decorating your room with a diffuser and some blackout curtains, if you make an effort to resolve your long term sleep habits, your body will amply reward you with health, wellness, and a greater zest for life in the future.