If you are like a lot of people, you probably wake up in the morning struggling to get out of bed or even if you don’t struggle, you feel tired and not feeling well rested. If you don’t, then you’re one of the lucky ones. I have been reading lots of things on this topic trying to improve my own sleeplessness and lethargy, and this is one common complaint that millions of people have. I don’t have this problem routinely, but I am bothered by it from time to time – though I’ve been bothered with it a lot lately, as in within the past six months or so.
So, why do we suffer from this? Well, I have compiled several common things that can affect the body by making us feel tired or keeping us from sleeping as well as we can and should. So of them are serious things, others not so much. But each one can have a huge impact on how well we sleep.
A. First and foremost, most of us don’t get to bed as early as we ought to. Most doctors say we each need to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. That’s funny. I’ve only had that much sleep when I was feeling down or had things on my mind weighing me down. A couple of weekends ago, I slept nearly the whole weekend. But generally I get only about 4-5 hours of sleep a night, and that’s usually on the high end. I realize for most people, there are legitimate reasons they can’t get more sleep, whether it’s due to work, caring for a sick family member, a second or third job. But over time, lack of sleep can have detrimental effects on our quality of life, so if you don’t sleep sufficiently enough, try and figure out how you can make some lifestyle changes and get more sleep.
B. Second, look at your mattress and your pillows. These are important. I recently bought both. I love my new mattress. Though I’m still getting used to the new pillows, I can see they are an improvement from the flimsy, nearly flat pillows that I discarded. Between the two, the mattress is of supreme importance. If it is too firm or too soft, your sleep could be affected. This could pose a problem if you share a bed with someone who wants a firm mattress and you want one that is soft – or vice versa. But if you shop around, you can find one that is adjustable, such as a Sleep Number Bed or a Tempur-Pedic mattress. These high-end mattresses are certainly more expensive than the average person is willing to pay. I certainly didn’t get one of them. But you can find a suitable one if you spend time shopping around. This can greatly improve your quality of sleep.
C. A third cause of sleeplessness is obesity. Even if you aren’t obese but still overweight, the extra bodyweight makes the body work harder during the day, which may cause the body to crave more sleep. This can make you feel sluggish all day long. So, develop a plan to shed some pounds.
D. Fourth, your medication can affect your sleep. If you are taking any medicines, especially if you are taking more than one type, this often can impact your sleep. Make sure your doctor knows about other medicines you are taking. Don’t expect your doctor to keep track of all the different medications you’re taking and the side effects and potential ways each one may interact with the others, even if the same doctor prescribed everything. I’ve learned from personal experience you have to sometimes be proactive when it comes to your own health.
E. Fifth, stress can be a big factor. Stress on the job, problems in the family, loss of income, sick family member, a rift with a close friend, or other life events can weigh on the mind and affect your sleep. Even something as trivial as moving can stress you out. Did you know that the entire process of moving (i.e., packing things up, moving to the new location, unpacking, transferring utilities – including cable and phone service, and all the other incidental things involved with moving) can create as much anxiety stress as the death of a loved one? It can be really bad. So, learning ways to minimize the effect of stress in your life can greatly improve your sleep patterns.
These are some of the things that can impact sleep. There are dozens of books on the topic (If you want to read a great one — not a good one but really a great one — then get the book up there at the beginning of this post: Dear God, Why Am I So Tired?” by Jeffrey Blair, Ph.D. ). This is merely a snippet of common causes. Poor sleep can have long-term consequences if you do not get a handle on it and nip it in the bud.
As an aside, some people think that a little drink of alcohol is a sure remedy. Perhaps once in a while it might help in rare instances; however, the kind of sleep that ensues after drinking alcohol isn’t usually the kind that produces the deep, restful sleep the body needs. So try an avoid alcohol to induce sleep.
p.s., just as I was about to post this, a related new article popped up on my Facebook timeline. Rather than read it and incorporate any points in my posting, I’ll post it in its entirety. Here it is: