Quality sleep can be an uphill struggle for many. You might be suffering from sleep deprivation for multiple reasons—from being a parent of a small baby to working in a toxic work environment where expectations are raised every day, and the pressure is building up.
Many factors can influence our sleep, and while we all probably know people who can sleep on a tree branch if they feel like it or those who can get by on few hours of sleep and still be annoyingly chirpy, the fact is—we have to sleep. While science is still unable to pinpoint all the reasons why we need sleep, two main reasons seem to be:
- Retaining important pieces of data learned throughout the day.
- Repairing muscles, organs, and cells.
Therefore, even without knowing all the benefits of sleep, just by taking stock of these two reasons, the importance of sleep is evident. In that sense, it seems that sleep takes care of the synergy that we, as human beings, are essentially comprised of—mind and body.
Actually, when we delve deeper into this matter, it becomes obvious why children, babies especially, need up to 17 hours of sleep per day. At no other time in life do we learn so much about the world, in both mental and physical sense, as we do in those first five years of our lives.
However, what happens when sleep deprivation becomes a problem?
Ways of Dealing with Sleep Deprivation
We are all familiar with the unpleasant side effects of too little sleep—tiredness, grumpiness, inability to focus, and, in some cases, aggression and outbursts. So, what can we do when sleep remains elusive?
Do You Need to Change Your Mattress?
One of the first things that ought to be inspected is glaringly apparent but often overlooked—a mattress a person is sleeping on. A quality mattress catering to an individual’s needs is the first and most essential requirement if we want to get a good night’s sleep. If that fits like a glove, then something else is amiss.
Medicating to Get Some Shut-Eye
The market is flooded with all sorts of sleep medication. For some, that could be a solution, albeit it is necessary to know that medications usually come with some adverse effects like addiction.
Additionally, sleep medication works short-term and cannot be taken indefinitely, so after some time, the problems usually recur.
CBD products are touted as one option for combating sleep deprivation and disorders. While there is evidence supporting the claims that CBD could indeed be a natural remedy with few (if any) side effects, this might not be a go-to solution for all who are looking for a quality shut-eye.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Hypnotherapy for Sleep Problems
By using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the approach to sleep disorders is steadily becoming more organic. Yes, you will have to frequent a therapist’s office. Still, the advantage is that you can address the underlying cause (whatever that might be) of your sleep disorder rather than just treat the symptoms. Additionally, CBT works to modify the way a person thinks, acts, and feels, which can bring about holistic changes in all areas of your life.
Another route could be hypnotherapy that can help with stress reduction as well as sleep issues. Both approaches are non-invasive and do not include medication.
Outsmarting Sleep Deprivation in a Natural Way
This might be the hardest way of dealing with the issue, but it is the most natural and the most rewarding one.
Similar to CBT therapy (only with you as a therapist at the helm), a person takes stock of their patterns of behaviour and central aspects of their lifestyle. Undoubtedly a tall order, but by slowly introducing positive changes, you can transform your life, not just your sleep.
Adjusting your circadian rhythm by going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time; being physically active; cutting out smoking and alcohol; and reducing the amount of time spent on a mobile phone and computer after work can all help you get a good night’s sleep.
Another crucial aspect is your daily diet. “You are what you eat” is more than just a phrase promoted by the super-fit crowd, chugging green juice. Observe how you think and feel after a meal. Introduce more fruit, vegetables, and lean meat into your diet while cutting out processed foods packed with sugar, food colouring, and taste enhancers – no matter how convenient that sort of food is.
Take a long, hot bath while listening to relaxing music, audiobooks, or podcasts before bed. Take notice of your sleeping position – sleeping on your back or on your side is preferable to sleeping on your stomach. Last but not least, make sure that your room temperature is around 64℉ (18℃).
Sleep is essential to our wellbeing and, as such, has to be one of our priorities. We cannot function, let alone thrive if we are sleep deprived. Tackling sleep problems in a natural way is a starting point, and if that yields no success, then it’s time to invest in other solutions. Just make sure you discuss the options with your GP and proceed when you have all the information you need to make the best possible choice for your health (and your sanity).