Sleeping well is most likely a sign of good health and peaceful mind. We do not notice this precious habit and routine as long as we don’t notice its disturbance.
We try to bring order and some routine to our lives, including regular and sufficient nightly rest. However, we also do not want to be deprived of some fun and party times that usually mean us having longer hours awake and fewer hours asleep. Most of such situations occur during weekends and that is why we almost naturally accept them, hoping that we can compensate for the lack of sleep during the following days. The ideal is to have a regular routine. However, many people stay up late at weekends especially when they are younger.
It becomes a problem if doing so causes you difficulty getting to sleep and waking when you need to function, perhaps as a student or at work. Not to mention the risk that a tired driver presents for himself or others on the road. Did you know that more road accidents are caused by sleepy drivers than by alchohol usage. Whatever you do, never drive drowsy.
But, is it so and what are the new findings and research saying about this issue?
There is probably no great answer to this question because there is much variation between each individual’s response to sleep deprivation and the required amount of recovery sleep. The best advice is to keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. This will minimize the risks of developing insomnia and, perhaps, other sleep disorders.
However, if you are going to stay up anyway, then, and this may be a matter of trial and error, but the advice is to try to accumulate the same amount of total sleep time on weekends as you normally do. Perhaps going to sleep an hour or two later on a Friday night and then waking an hour or two later on Saturday. This might work as long as it doesn’t get in the way of falling asleep at a normal time on Saturday night..
Simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference to your sleep quality. If one notices that sleeping disorder is happening more and more often, here are several precepts for a more restful night:
- Keep regular sleep hours
Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better. Choose a time when you’re likely to feel tired and sleepy.
- Create a restful sleeping environment
Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled so that your bedroom environment helps you to fall (and stay) asleep.
If you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you, consider moving it somewhere else if it often disturbs you in the night.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable
It’s difficult to get restful sleep on a mattress that’s too soft or too hard, or a bed that’s too small or too old.
- Exercise regularly
Moderate exercise on a regular basis, such as swimming or walking, can help relieve some of the tension built up over the day. Make sure that you don’t do vigorous exercise, such as running or the gym, too close to bedtime, though, as it may keep you awake.
- Cut down on caffeine
Cut down on caffeine in tea, coffee, energy drinks or colas, especially in the evening. Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep, and also prevents deep sleep. Instead, have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea and use this procedure to relax and induce a sleepy feeling (see also 8 below).
- Don’t over-indulge
Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night.
- Don’t smoke
Nicotine is a stimulant. Smokers take longer to fall asleep, they wake up more frequently, and they often have more disrupted sleep.
- Try to relax before going to bed
Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle to relax the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation CD.
- Write away your worries
If you tend to lie in bed thinking about everything you have to do tomorrow, set aside time before bedtime to make plans for the next day and write them down before you lie down. The aim is to avoid doing these things when you’re in bed, trying to sleep.
- If you can’t sleep, get up
If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then go back to bed.
If lack of sleep is persistent and affecting your daily life, make an appointment to see your family doctor.