By Ann Lindemann, Senior Health Writer
It’s no wonder that sleep deprivation is used as an interrogation technique. When you don’t get enough shut-eye a myriad of problems ensure. Studies show that lack of sleep is closely linked to poorer concentration and memory, as well as slower reaction time. What’s more, a long-term pattern of sleepless nights ups your odds of diabetes, depression, heart disease and even weight gain.
Indeed, some of your daily habits may be putting up roadblocks to your journey to dreamland. Here are a few tips to help you get back on track.
- Nix Afternoon Caffeine – Everyone knows that drinking coffee or tea before hitting the hay won’t help you get to dreamland. However, you also need to monitor those caffeinated afternoon beverages that can sabotage sleep later. Try to stop sipping them by 2 p.m. or earlier and instead take a short energizing walk to help you get over your mid-day slump.
- Sip Sooner – Sure, a nightcap might seem like a good way to relax and fall asleep faster. But here’s the thing: it won’t help the second half of your sleep cycle, as it decreases deep sleep and increases midnight wake-ups. If you enjoy a glass of wine, it’s wise to imbibe at dinnertime, rather than bedtime. And always drink in moderation, so the effects will ware off before you slumber.
- Take an Earlier Bath – There’s nothing like a hot bath to help you unwind and prepare for sleep, right? Yes and no. Researchers have now found that raising your body temperature too close to bedtime may actually hinder you from falling asleep. Here’s why: your body needs to cool to a certain temperature in order to reach deep slumber. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still soak after a rough day; just do it earlier in the evening, not right before bedtime.
- Too Tired – The cardinal rule of good sleep: Your bedroom should be a tranquil haven – designated for sleep and sex only. That means laptops and cellphones are not welcome. Typing in bed can wind you up and make it harder to fall asleep. Disconnect your smart phone an hour before bed and put it in another room. Also, purchase a real alarm clock because using your cell phone to wakeup will only give you another excuse to have this distraction close by.