Recent studies suggest that compromised sleep have negative effects on learning, cognition, inflammation, immunity, and memory. The same studies believe that bad sleeping habits are also linked to major heart problems, low pain tolerance, and overeating which means if there`s a time you should reconsider you sleeping habits, then that time should be now.
The following are seven tips that will help you avoid the negative effects resulting from sleep deprivation.
Avoid heavy meals before bed
Studies suggest that you can relive stomach problems by just avoiding eating right before bed. This is one of the most common recommendations doctors give to patients with Gastroesophageal reflux disease —GERD. Eating 3 hours or less before bed time can force stomach acids back towards your throat resulting in a heartburn and breathing problems.
Sleep on schedule
Studies found that lacking a specific bedtime negatively affects both your sleeping duration and latency at night. The easiest way to sleep on time, according to productivity expert, Chris Bailey, is to have a bed-time routine as it will make you more deliberate about increasing the quality of your night sleep.
You can do this making a decision to turn off the TV, and other gadgets, and go to bed at a specific time each night even if you don`t feel like sleeping. In the first few days you may find yourself tossing and turning in bed, but it won`t be a week before your body starts to adapt to this new routine and sleeping at the time you chose will come naturally.
Eat Turkey or Pumpkin Seeds
Tryptophan is a very important amino acid that your body cannot create on its own, but rather consume in the form of food. According to studies, one gram of Tryptophan can improve your sleep quality, and help you sleep faster. And in case you`re confused, this gram of Tryptophan is equivalent to 200 grams of pumpkin seeds or 300 grams of turkey.
Avoid caffeine 3-6 hours before bedtime
Researchers recommend you don`t consume caffeine after 5 p.m. A study published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that drinking two or three cups of coffee before bedtime disrupts both sleep latency and quality. The study found that you lose one hour of sleep if you consume 400 grams of caffeine 3-6 hours prior sleeping regardless of whether you drink it before going to bed or on your way from work.
For women: Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy during Menopause
Some women can find it hard to sleep during their menopause. In fact, for some women, sleeping problems can stat during the perimenopause period —3-5 years before menopause— when the body lowers its production of Estrogen and Progesterone hormones. According to studies, these changes in hormones usually come with hot flashes and excessive night sweating that can make sleeping not easy.
Such symptoms can be elevated using Hormone Replacement Therapy —HRT— in which both hormones are given in the form of pills or vaginal cream. This however should be done carefully, and for just a short period of time, since studies have found that the long-term usage of HRT can sometimes be risky.
Meditate or Do Yoga Before Bed
Yoga is famous for its anti-depressing effects and is also linked with lower Cortisol levels —which is known to increase stress. Yoga is also known for its ability to reduce chronic pain which can make you awake all night. One study found that two weeks of doing yoga before bed can dramatically improve sleep quality and how quickly you can fell asleep.
Meditation has also similar effects on sleep quality, especially for old people. One study found that brain waves linked to relaxation were active when participants meditated for 20 minutes. Another study done on 49 participants —averaging 66 y/o— also found that sleep quality and latency improved only to those who practiced Mindfulness Meditation early during the day.
Don`t hit the snooze button
If one thing you should do, is not hit the snooze button. Experts recommend that you either set the alarm on the exact time that you want to wake up at, or stop using it completely and let your body sleep until satiety. According to sleep specialist at The Stanford Health Care Center, Dr. Rafael Pelayo, the more you hit the snooze button, the more you confuse your body and get your brain into a state of drowsiness, disorientation called sleep inertia.