This column was written by a non-clinician.
What comes to mind when you think about sleep deprivation? Do you picture someone who hasn't slept in a couple days and looks a bit disheveled? While not sleeping for days is the most common perception of sleep deprivation, there's more to the story.
Even with 8 hours of sleep, you could be sleep deprived
While sleep deprivation is caused by not getting enough sleep, it's also caused by a deprivation of quality sleep. While there are individuals who literally can't sleep, a lack of deep sleep is primarily caused by interrupted sleep.
If you feel depleted, exhausted, or just plain tired throughout the day, you're probably sleep deprived. Sleeping a certain number of hours each night doesn't guarantee you'll get quality sleep. If you don't get enough deep REM sleep, and if your sleep is interrupted, when you wake up, you'll feel like you never slept.
REM sleep is critical for your body to function, so if you're not getting enough sleep, it's time do something.
Need to improve the quality of your sleep? Try these 3 tips
When you need better sleep, but don't know how to get it, you may need to try several strategies until you find something that works. The following tips have already been proven to help thousands of people get better sleep.
1. Take supplements that specifically contribute to deep sleep
If you're going to take supplements to get better sleep, you need to take the supplements that actually work. Regardless of what people say, not every supplement lives up to its reputation.
For example, how many times do people recommend drinking chamomile tea before bed? If you suffer from sleep problems, you're probably tired of being told to try herbal teas. The truth is, herbal teas have calming qualities, but they won't fix your sleep problems. You can't drink a cup of chamomile tea and expect to get the best sleep of your life when your partner interrupts your sleep every night.
If you start taking supplements that directly contribute to deep sleep, you might be able to sleep through your partner moving around in bed. For example, melatonin and CBD are two supplements commonly used to improve sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body normally produces at night to make you tired. Some people don't produce enough melatonin for various reasons. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive extract derived from hemp that has been scientifically proven to support deep sleep.
CBD manufacturers are starting to include melatonin in CBD gummies. While CBD often comes in various strengths, melatonin is usually limited to 5mg per serving. That's perfect because it's not recommended that people take more than 5mg of melatonin unless their body is used to it or 5mg isn't enough.
2. Eliminate screen time several hours before bed
Exposure to certain types of light disrupts your body's circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is what keeps your body operating according to standard sleeping cycles. Unfortunately, light emitted by devices disrupts your circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin production, which then prevents your body from making you sleepy at the appropriate time.
The best way to support your body is to put your devices away at least a few hours before you go to sleep. While most people have read traditional research identifying blue light as the sleep disruptor, other research indicates that yellow light might be disrupting the body's circadian rhythm.
Regardless of what light is causing sleep disturbances, turning off your devices a few hours before bed will help you sleep better for several reasons:
- You won't need to figure out what color light is disruptive if you aren't staring at a screen.
- Light, in general, is stimulating.
- You won't be tempted to answer texts or check social media notifications all night long.
- Your sleep won't be interrupted by sounds or vibrations.
Part of getting a good night's sleep is allowing your mind and body to relax before you're ready to sleep.
3. Read a book while you're in bed
Reading is one of the best ways to fall asleep. Although, reading to fall asleep only works when you read a physical book.
Keep a stack of books by the side of your bed and just start reading until you doze off. Your eyes will get tired and you'll feel sleep coming on faster than ever.
Prioritize your sleep
They say food, water, and shelter are critical to survival, but sleep should be on that list. Make quality sleep a priority. Your health depends on your commitment to getting a good night's sleep.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher. A graduate of Iowa State University, he's now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant. Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he's also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter (@LarryAlton3), at LinkedIn.com/in/larryalton, and on his website, LarryAlton.com. Read Larry Alton's Reports — More Here.
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