We live in an era where business never stops, we’re always connected to our laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and our daily stress is at an all time high. This makes it increasingly difficult to shut out the world and have a good night’s sleep.
I’m sure you have heard this plenty of times, but you need an average of eight hours of sleep a day. We know this number, yet so many of us fail to reach eight hours of sleep. The result? Poor sleep quality.
What Affects Getting Better Sleep?
Lack of sleep can cause many health problems. Think of it this way: sleep is the one time of day that our bodies can recuperate and rejuvenate from a long, stressful day of work. A lack of sleep can be the result of:
- Caffeine in the afternoon
- Poor sleep environment
- Shift work
- Changes in hormones
Dangers of Not Getting Good Sleep
As a result of a lack of sleep, our health suffers. Some of the hazards to your health, caused by sleep deprivation may include:
- Weakened immune system
- Increased chance of diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart Disease
- Poor coordination
- Lack of focus
How Do I Know If I Need Better Sleep?
You might be so use to being tired, having a hard time waking up in the morning, and use to thinking “I wish I had just one more hour of sleep” that you think that these are normal thoughts – well, they’re not!. Every morning you should wake up with ease and feel satisfied with the sleep you received during the night.
If you are not sure whether you are getting a good night’s rest, consider these symptoms:
- Difficulty waking up
- Extreme tiredness in the afternoon
- Poor concentration
- Feeling and looking tired all the time
- Lack of focus
- Need for an afternoon coffee
- Decreased productivity and focus
If you experience any of these symptoms, you could probably benefit from a better night's rest.
Get Better Sleep With Natural Sleep Aids
There is no need to resort to sleeping pills or prescription drugs when it comes to having a sound and restful sleep. There are many natural alternatives that you can explore.
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the brain and directly affects sleep. Melatonin does more than just support deep, restful sleep; it is also an antioxidant that protects us from inflammation, infection, and autoimmunity. Light has a direct impact on secretion of melatonin, therefore sleeping in a room that is not completely dark or working night shifts can play a major role in suppression of melatonin in a one’s body.
Other reasons of poor melatonin secretion in the body include old age, depression, and menopause.
Melatonin can be purchased as a supplement and can be taken ninety minutes before going to sleep. It is very important to follow the dosages as read on the bottle, because too much melatonin can actually disrupt your sleep and may cause headaches and nausea, and may even make it more difficult for you to wake up in the morning.
Lack of magnesium is prevalent in most of the population and is directly related to a lack of sleep. This one mineral is so often overlooked, yet it is essential to a good night’s rest. Magnesium helps us achieve better sleep by helping the GABA receptors in our brain to switch off and relax. When these receptors do not switch off, we have difficulty falling asleep.
Magnesium can be found in many foods like leafy greens, beans, pumpkin seeds, and lentils. You can also consume magnesium through dietary supplements. When taking a magnesium supplement to help you sleep, take 400-500mg sixty minutes before sleeping. The best types of magnesium included citrates and glycinates.
There are simple steps that you can take to help improve your sleep. Lifestyle changes, a nutritious diet, and supplementation will help you achieve a level of sleep where you feel rested and refreshed. Other tricks you can try out, to improve your quality of sleep, include not drinking caffeine in the afternoon, ensuring your bedroom is completely dark when going to sleep, and shutting down electronic devices one hour before sleep. So what are you waiting for? Better sleep is within your reach!