I think it's safe to say most of us have missed a few (100) hours of sleep here and there. Whether it's due to distraction, racing thoughts, stress, or even creative energy- most people struggle with some form of sleep deprivation.
I'm sure you have heard that to some extent that sleep is incredibly important, so I will keep this part short and sweet:
Many know that prolonged or chronic sleep deprivation can lead to early death, increased risk of stroke, heart disease and obesity- it is also found that loss of sleep causes "irritability, moodiness and disinhibition." One may "start to experience apathy, slowed speech and flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and an inability to be novel or multitask." If you are experiencing extreme sleep loss, you will notice that you, "will fall into micro sleeps (5-10 seconds) that cause lapses in attention, nod off while doing an activity like driving or reading and then finally experience hypnagogic hallucinations, the beginning of REM sleep."
(Dinges, Sleep, Sleepiness and Performance, 1991)
Let's keep in mind as well that sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture. "Prolonged sleep deprivation is a cruel and useless method of interrogation. Prolonged sleep deprivation is an especially insidious form of torture because it attacks the deep biological functions at the core of a person's mental and physical health." (Dreaming of the Digital Age, Kelly Bulkeley Ph.D)
So for those of us who say "I will sleep when I am dead," that can be taken more literally than you might have thought previously! I know people who have adapted to a lack of sleep schedule, but sadly, no one is immune to it's long term affects.
So now for the fun part- I could go over why drinking caffeine or looking at bright screens before bed hinder sleep, but I feel most people are bombarded by this information already. Instead I have done some deeper research, and these are some surprising (and scientifically proven) ways to get more sleep, more regularly (in addition to cutting out the aforementioned screen time and caffeine before bed):
- Cool off:
It might sound intuitive to get warm and cozy before sleep, but actually, "when we sleep our body temperatures naturally decrease to allow us to recharge and cycle through multiple sleep stages. […]lowering your environmental temperatures will help you get to sleep faster and also allow a deeper sleep. […] Your environment is too warm during this time period, your body will attempt to regulate its temperature and you will waste energy- causing you to stay awake, or struggle to fall into a deep enough sleep to allow a regular sleep cycle" (Sleep Hacks, Frank Apodaca).
- Sleep... less?
If you're pretty behind on regular sleep, going straight to 8 hours a night might be pretty difficult. In order to regulate longer periods of sleep action, you may need to decrease and build up. It is shown that if you start sleeping consistently at 6ish hours a night, and build up in 30 minute increments (and are strict with it), your body will build up "sleep pressure," which is "a greater abundance of adenosine. Under this heavier weight of sleep pressure, patients fall asleep faster, and achieve a more stable, solid form of sleep across the night. In this way, a patient can regain their psychological confidence in being able to self-generate and sustain healthy, rapid, and sound sleep, night after night: something that has eluded them for months if not years. Upon reestablishing a patient’s confidence in this regard, time in bed is gradually increased" (Why We Sleep, PhD. Mathew Walker).
- Regular Sleep Schedule:
This one seems pretty intuitive, and most likely you have heard it before. Having a regular sleep schedule (as hard as that may seem) will highly increase your bodies ability to fall into faster and deeper sleep- we are creatures of habit, after all!
Let me know if this was helpful, and if you want more posts like this.
I thoroughly appreciate all of the regular readers, while I get my footing into what I want this blog to be! I would love any suggestions, thoughts, or comments you may have. ALSO DAD JOKES! Love you guys, thank you!
- xo, Brittany
Daily Dad Joke #13:
What time did the woman go to the dentist?