You need sleep. You crave it. You would marry it if you could. But much like being in a marriage, you’re not getting any…

It’s time to wake up...

Time to get up and participate in that demanding activity called life. Except you didn’t sleep and now you feel like crap, you’re unrested and you honestly have no interest in doing anything except going back to bed. But you don’t, you have bills to pay and a mouth to feed so instead you start getting ready for work. But you can’t function, you shower in the sink and wear your pants on your arms because lets face it, at this point who gives a shit? It’s lunchtime now; you’ve managed to drag your unwilling body through the motions. But you have gone through half the amount of work as anyone else and you’re feeling depressed, out of sorts and bloody tired. You just wan’t to quit. Quit your job, quit your responsibilities and quit life.

Most people will feel the draining and miserable side effects of sleep deprivation at least once in their lives. Its hard to get enough sleep when there are so many more important things you need to get done. Except…

“Getting enough sleep is probably the most important thing you can do”

Getting enough sleep is probably the most important thing you can do!

It gives our brain the chance to repair and maintain all those functions we take for granted. Things like muscle growth, memory consolidation and the release of important hormones that regulate growth and appetite. And when you don’t get enough sleep you start to shut down because your brain is running out of juice. All those neurons and synapses it didn’t get time to repair last night are fried and you literally start to lose the ability to function, leaving you with some serious side effects.

Serious side effects:

  • The inability to remember and consolidate information
  • The inability to focus
  • Decreased productivity throughout the day
  • Slower reaction processes
  • An increase in appetite, and greater risk of obesity
  • A greater risk of developing diabetes and heart problems
  • The risk of developing or aggravating psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
  • Social and financial problems and
  • Significant personal distress

So how can you make sure you get those much needed hours of rest?

Get that TV out of your bedroom

Not just the TV, but video games, exercise equipment, basically anything that isn’t directly related to sleep. Removing all stimulus and only using you’re bedroom for sex and sleep will teach your brain to shut down and get rest when you enter it.

Get out of that bed

Laying in bed for long periods of time when you’re not sleeping increases the association your brain makes between being in bed and being awake. So if you can’t  fall asleep after 15 minutes get up and do something relaxing until you feel ‘sleepy’ rather than just fatigued.

Don’t watch the clock

Watching the clock reinforces wakefulness so resist the urge to watch how much time has passed. Can’t shake the urge? Get rid of any clocks or time pieces in your bedroom and remove the temptation.

Keep it hygienic

A clean and uncluttered sleeping space clears the mind and promotes better health. Both of which will help your brain to switch off. A dark, cool room will help lower your heart rate and relax your muscles and a comfortable mattress and pillow are always a bonus.

Set a schedule

Give yourself a bed time and waking time that you stick to even on weekends and stop those midday naps. After a while your body will find it natural to fall asleep during the hours you’ve set.

A big meal before bed is a bad idea

Metabolising food constantly keeps your brain occupied and makes you less able to get quality sleep. So you might find you sleep better if you stop eating at least 2 hours before you go to sleep.

Keep it relaxed

Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are all mentally exhausting. You don’t need to quit caffeine entirely, but cutting back at night will help your brain switch off. The same goes for exercise, do that workout in the morning or day when your body has time to process the hormones the activity produces.