Forty percent of Americans are sleep deprived. (source) Are you one of them? When you are not getting enough sleep, many undesirable things can happen.
First, you are unproductive at work. It takes you much longer to complete a project than if you were rested. Second, you are more prone to be in a car accident if you are not fully alert when you are driving.
Third, you are more likely to act and speak in a way that you will regret later. When you are sleep deprived, you are frustrated, and it’s easy to take that frustration out on people you love most.
Fourth, you make more mistakes at work. You complete only half the report. You don’t catch that typo. Mistakes cost you and your employer money. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes when I am tired, including writing the incorrect zip codes when addressing envelopes.
Fifth, you are more forgetful. You forget to pay the bills. You forget to purchase peanut butter on your way home, and you miss important deadlines and events because you forgot to mark them on your calendar.
Sixth, your health is affected in many ways when you do not get enough sleep. You may begin experiencing heart problems or weight gain.
When you are not getting the rest you need, you cannot function optimally in life. You do not need to keep making mistakes, being frustrated at your spouse, and being at a great risk of being in a car accident.
Here are a few tips to help you sleep well at night:
1. Eat a filling breakfast with protein.
A good night’s sleep does not begin when you retire for the night. Rather, it begins when you wake up. Be sure to eat a filling breakfast with protein. Protein is necessary at every meal because it, along with fiber, helps you feel full.
Yes, we are all busy. You can prepare a shake the night before, store it in the refrigerator, and take it with you to drink while your car warms up. Taking five minutes in the evening to think ahead for the next day can pay off greatly.
When you eat a filling breakfast, your metabolism gets working. In addition, you will not be so hungry at 9 pm.
2. Limit your caffeine intake throughout the day.
When I was working in a quiet office all by myself several years ago, I was sleep deprived from having worked too much at the jobs I had resigned. Since coffee seemed like the only way to stay awake, I had a little of it with quite a bit of creamer and water. Because I had not paid attention to how late in the day it was, I had a very hard time sleeping that night–and working the next day.
Caffeine can create more problems than it solves. Know how much and how late you can drink it. My recommendation is no coffee after 11 am. Instead, drink water to give your body the energy and hydration it needs.
3. Eat dinner at a reasonable hour.
After you eat, it takes time for your body to digest the food. If you eat a roast dinner at 7:30 pm, most likely, you will not be able to fall asleep at 9 pm. If you do fall asleep, your quality of sleep will be compromised because your body is digesting the food you just ate. Breakfast should be your biggest meal; lunch should be smaller, and dinner should be your biggest meal.
If for some reason you decide to make dinner your biggest meal, you should consume it as early as possible (5 pm or so) to give your body plenty of time to digest the food before you retire for the night. In addition, if you eat a later dinner, make it a lighter meal with less meat and more vegetables. Consider soup and salad. Soup can simmer in your crock pot all day, and salad can be made quickly right before dinner or the night before.
4. Use lavender essential oil
You can spray it onto your sheets or pillow or diffuse it in your bedroom in the evening. Lavender soothes, relaxes, and calms you. We run it in a diffuser in our bedroom every night and enjoy its calming benefits as we drift off to sleep.
5. Drink chamomile tea to help you wind down.
Instead of finishing all your tasks and going to bed right away, take time to read a good book and drink a cup of chamomile tea to help you unwind from the long day you have had.
If you go to bed while you are stressed or anxious about what you did not get done or worried about all the work you need to do tomorrow, you won’t sleep well. Take a break between the end of your day and the time you retire for the night, and see how much better you sleep.
Here’s a bonus tip: if you have trouble sleeping at night, when was the last time you did a cleanse? If you have toxins sitting in your digestive system, it will be more difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.
Bonus tip #2: make sure it’s not 80 degrees at night in your bedroom. One day when I was a baby, my dad came home from work, and my mom was concerned that I would not take a nap. Dad said that he wouldn’t sleep either when it’s so hot ! Even when it’s winter, lower the thermostat at night to feel more rested in the morning!
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