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8 habits of the sleep deprived

sleep-deprived

Severe cases of sleep deprivation, including insomnia, affect around a third of the UK population. Sleeping patterns can vary, so if you believe you lead a healthy life on 3-4 hours’ sleep, you aren’t necessarily sleep deprived. On the other hand, if you know you are definitely tired of being awake for so long, you need to undertake a spring clean of your habits and maintain what the NHS call ‘good sleep hygiene’.

1) No routine

It is above all the most effective tip when dealing with sleep deprivation, whatever the reason. It will be the first recommendation a doctor will give you. Structuring when you sleep and for how long is something you can aim for and work on until it becomes natural. By sticking with circadian rhythms – waking and being active in the day, relaxing and lowering lighting at night – your sleeping pattern will fall into place. It is vital that you aren’t tempted to nap or take a break from the routine. We might all have that one task for work we want to finish or an episode of a TV show to watch, but these should not be a priority over your designated sleep time. It can take around 21 days to start a habit – you need to dedicate yourself to getting in the habit of sleep. If it helps, try to start a sleep diary. This can help you assert control over the situation and recognise where you are going wrong.

2) Lethargy

Exercise doesn’t only use up extra energy, but also adds variation to your day. Being lethargic throughout the day is an overly consistent use of energy. By staying in the same place all day, you enter a stasis that is hard to break from, even if you want to be less active rather than more.

3) Depression

Depression and related illnesses are normally linked with oversleeping, however they can have the opposite effect. Your concentration levels and propensity for negative thoughts can cause an imbalance in your sleeping. You become irritated and overwhelmed.[Questions you need to ask yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed] Tackling depression actively during the day – seeking help with a GP and/or therapist, talking with close friends and family – will help you during the night.

4) Overstimulation

Anything that keeps your senses alert will get in the way of sleep, even something as simple as a bright light. It is thought that a minimum of 30 minutes of absolutely no sensual stimulation needs to pass before you can fall asleep. As tempting as it is, don’t be distracted by your phone, laptop or TV, and if you sleep next to a snorer… tell them to sort it out!

5) Discomfort

Thick curtains, firm mattress, soft pillows, cool temperature – get the settings right. Implement a strategy to use every day to increase comfort, for example baths or calming music.

6) Stress

Being overly anxious will disrupt your sleep, even over the fact that you can’t get to sleep.[5 key triggers of anxiety] Remember, you will not solve many problems lying on your back in a bed. Write your problems down in a diary then leave them for your morning self to sort through. You will have expressed your thoughts as you want to and know you can return to them easily the next day. If you find yourself overthinking during the night, then visit our bite sized Video Moods series where our experts help you through various emotions to help you to understand how you are feeling and offer actionable ways to tackle it.

7) Poor health

Temporary viruses like common colds or sickness bugs, through to long term conditions like asthma, are obstacles in the way of getting comfortable in bed. Try to not focus on your symptoms and remedy them as best as you can. Remain restful throughout the day to get you in the mood for sleep.

8) Poor diet

Don’t have too many carbohydrates or caffeine before bed, because they can cause hyperactivity. Bloating from the carbohydrates will lead to discomfort. Alcohol too causes problems. Despite being a depressant, and therefore thought to help with sleep, it can cause early wakefulness and deprive you of extra hours in the morning instead.

Being sleep deprived can have a massive negative impact on our lives, but these small steps and changes can help our sleep life soon get back to normal.

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This article was contributed by Pink Moods.