Discussion: Sleep…Where are you?
By Chiara Noble
March 4, 2022
How many of us wake up in the middle of the night with our minds wandering to things that may occur? Things that may occur the next day or sometimes the following week. Or we even find it difficult to fall asleep, tossing and turning with worry about what happened yesterday? Finally, how many of us struggle with daylight savings and “losing” that extra hour of sleep affects us differently than others? Yeah, me too. With this being National Sleep Awareness Week, I thought it might be appropriate to talk a little about this subject.
First, I want to say that we all have to get adequate sleep. Trust me, I know how this sounds and it’s difficult, right? We are in a constant battle to figure out how to do all the things we need to do in a day with little time left for sleep. Because, well who needs sleep right? We do. According to the CDC, the number of hours that an adult need to sleep each night at a minimum from (ages 18-65) is 7-9 hours per night.
Think about the last time you had that much sleep. Still thinking? That’s because anything over 5-6 hours per night is impossible. Let’s talk about some things that cause us to lose sleep, and then some ways to fix it. It’s noted that interrupted sleep occurs more and more as we age. So that part, we may not have too much control over. Unless we have a genie in a bottle that can grant wishes or know somebody who knows the location of the fountain of youth! But there are ways to be successful at this if we are intentional about it.
Let’s discuss our lifestyle. Ahh… I know what you’re thinking. She’s about to tell me what I can and cannot or should and should not do. No ma’am, no sir. This is some good information to help you. It is your prerogative… to take it or leave it here. But what’s the worst that can happen? It is said that drinking alcohol within four hours of bedtime can disrupt your sleep. So, while it may help you fall asleep, it may also interrupt sleep and cause more frequent trips to the bathroom. So, I guess we are stuck with trying to figure that out! Maybe just have one glass of wine or look for an alternate substitute like a nighttime tea, perhaps?
Next up is eating within a few hours of bedtime. Hmm, this one can be tricky. How many times have we had a rough day and drowned ourselves in a large bowl of ice cream, or munch on some popcorn with M&M’s? Yes, I said popcorn with M&M’s. if you haven’t tried it, you should! Just not before bedtime. Some say that laying down with a full stomach can cause heartburn, which can certainly make it harder to sleep. If you’re reading this and you haven’t experienced heartburn, give it time. It’s coming!
This takes us to the naps. I know, I know, those midday naps make a difference, especially if you had trouble sleeping the night before. If you can, push yourself past the napping period, and get a good night’s rest, you can break the cycle and change the pattern. Long naps during the day make it harder to sleep at night.
Last but certainly not least, consuming too much caffeine. Trust me, I know this is where I’m going to lose some of you but stay with me for just a little while longer. I’m not saying give up caffeine all together. If you are a coffee lover like me, this is a no go. If you’re drinking over one cup, try to cut down to one. Eliminate the afternoon cup. The crash and burn rollercoaster is REAL. You need it to keep going, and to keep going you need more! It goes on and on. Just try it. You can also eliminate the sugar or even try black coffee. It’s stronger and may even have a better effect. The sugar causes the crash. Once it wears off, you're done for. This is the same with any caffeinated beverage or juice. Caffeine blocks the chemical called adenosine, which helps you sleep.
Now, that was a lot, but here’s some good news! I have some tips and advice on things that you can try, or things that you can substitute to help you get that good night’s sleep.
Take a shower at the end of the day. This is a good way to calm down mentally and to feel comfortable. Decide not to think about anything that concerns tomorrow, yesterday, or today. Try soothing exercises, deep breathing, or meditation. Put down the phone, tablet, laptop and turn off the TV. I know this sounds unheard of—but trust me, just try. Instead, read a book on the couch or at the kitchen table (anywhere except the bedroom). Then get in the bed when you feel tired enough to sleep and not a minute before. I have also found that candles and soft or sleep music sometimes help. Just be sure to blow out the candle or turn off the warmer before you fall asleep!
I am no expert by any means but try one or two of these suggestions. Send me a message and let me know if it has helped you. So, to answer the question in title, sleep is there—you may just have to work a little harder at finding it.
Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!
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Sleep Awareness Week® - National Sleep Foundation (thensf.org)
CDC - How Much Sleep Do I Need? - Sleep and Sleep Disorders
About the Writer:
Chiara A. Noble: Is a visionary, a woman of many talents who wears many hats. She is an ordained minister, wife, mother, daughter, sister. A published author and the co-host of Victory Talk, a virtual talk show centered around helping people to grow, speak and live a victorious life. She has faced many trials/tribulations but lives by the saying “storms make trees take deeper roots.”