A full night of sleep is a gift. While you sleep, your body repairs itself. Your brain recharges so that you can feel refreshed for a new day when you wake. Your body relaxes while you dream. Most experts recommend at least 7 or 8 hours per night for the average adult, with 9 being ideal.
If you are having trouble staying asleep beyond 6 hours, there are some simple tricks to try to elongate your natural sleep pattern.
Cut Out the Caffeine
A major reason that so many people have difficulty sleeping is because they ignore their sleep signals. Often during the day when we get tired, we have a cup of coffee. Using coffee to get you through the day is one thing, but if you have one too late in the day, it can really disturb your sleep pattern.
Try to keep caffeine to a minimum during the day and set some boundaries about when you drink it. Perhaps don’t have any coffee after 4pm so that it has time to wear off before bed.
Remember that coffee isn’t the only beverage containing caffeine. Certain sodas like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are rich with it, as are most types of tea. Cutting out the caffeine can help you rest easier at night. If you need a warm drink before bed, try the zero-caffeine peppermint or chamomile teas, known for their relaxing properties.
See a Doctor
This tip is one of the most important. If you are finding it incredibly difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep, you may have a disorder. Doctors can diagnose these disorders easily and provide medication and coping strategies to help you.
Some say that only six hours of sleep is just as bad as getting none. If you are getting less than six hours consistently, it may be time to seek medical attention.
Insomnia is a widespread issue as well as other sleep disorders like sleep apnea. A doctor can help to bring peace to the nighttime routine. They can also teach you to be self-sufficient in getting the shuteye you need despite your previous difficulties.
It may feel like having a drink or two is a relaxing way to end the evening. On the contrary, alcohol can actually prevent you from sleeping well. While it might make you feel drowsy around bedtime, drinking alcohol before bed can cause you to wake up constantly through the night. These short wakeups can absolutely ruin your chances of waking up well-rested.
If you limit your alcohol intake to days in which you can nap plenty the next day, you will be saving yourself the trouble of restless nights.
Quit Worrying, Start Doing
Studies show that those who worry too much about getting enough sleep can actually worry themselves into getting none. If you wake up in the night checking the clock to see how much sleep you get before you have to wake up, you may be suffering from psychophysiological insomnia.
To sort this, create a relaxing bedtime routine. Stop watching TV or using computers and smartphones at least two hours before lights out. Reading, journaling or meditating before you go to sleep can also help with relaxation, as can a warm bath. This will help to clear your mind and reduce your stress levels before bed.
Whatever may be causing your lack of rest, there is always a solution to be found. If your lack of sleep is affecting your day-to-day life, go to see a doctor.