Sleep is a thing all of us need, but it’s something many of us struggle to get enough of. In fact, in the business world, the lack of sleep due to work is very common, even “celebrated.”
We tell ourselves that it’s OK, that we can just drink a lot of coffee at work, or we can catch up on the weekends. It’s not that simple, though.
The more tired you are, the harder it is to focus, period. Coffee and energy drinks can only do so much. It’s like trying to paper over a hole in the wall with wallpaper; it may look a bit nicer, but the hole is still there underneath it all.
Rather than look at wallpaper, you have to figure out how best to fix the wall, a.k.a. your sleep problems. That can be daunting, especially if you’ve had sleep issues on and off your whole life. But it’s necessary before you make a critical mistake at work because you only slept two hours the night before. Even worse, you could get into an accident on the way home from work because you haven’t slept enough. That’s a good way to get seriously injured or killed, or to seriously injure or kill someone else, all because your sleep habits are wonky.
Enough is enough – you need to take action today. The big question is, where to start? Well, read on.
Dealing with your caffeine intake
Let’s start with the caffeine: Some of it is fine in the morning, but you shouldn’t be chugging it all day. Too much caffeine in the afternoon can keep you wired at night, which means you can’t sleep at night, which means you have to have a lot of caffeine the next day, and so on.
Look at your diet
Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are you getting enough vitamins? Some people swear by dietary supplements, so it’s worth seeing if those can work for you.
Observing your pre-sleep ritual
Then there’s your pre-sleep ritual. Some experts recommending turning off the TV and putting away the phones about an hour before you go to sleep. The thinking is, doing that gives enough time for your brain and body to wind down so you can rest better. If you’re on your phone all night, try going without for a few nights and see what happens.
How’s your bedroom’s environment?
If you just have a bed, a nightstand, and empty white walls, that may not be the most relaxing environment. Consider purchasing art from a place like, say, 1st Art Gallery to spruce things up. Focus on finding something that you find personally calming before you try to go to sleep. So probably no depictions of war, then, unless that relaxes you.
If everything fails…
If you try all that and none of it seems to be working, it’s time to call your doctor and get in for a check-up.
Have previous roommates or partners told you that you snore a lot when you sleep? Do you wake up feeling fatigued even if you thought you were asleep for seven or eight or hours? You may have sleep apnea, which can really do a lot of damage long-term if you don’t get treatment.
Your doctor may advise you to use a cpap machine when you sleep. Short for “continuous positive airway pressure,” a cpap machine works to keep your airways open while you sleep, since sleep apnea means you briefly stop breathing multiple times per night. The machines can take some getting used to, but most people adjust with a little time.
It may not be sleep apnea, though. There are other sleep disorders like narcolepsy, sleepwalking, and even night terrors. A doctor will be able to tell you more about each condition.
Trying to figure out why you’re having sleep issues can be a long process, but it’s better to figure things out now to keep going through life in a constant state of sleep deprivation.