Need More Sleep? 6 Ninja Tricks To Help You Get More Rest
When your day is jam-packed with an endless to-do list, it’s tempting to skimp on sleep. However, this isn’t the best way to get everything done. Generally, adults need an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you don’t work on getting more sleep, it could eventually become very hard for you to function properly. One person who took sleep-cheating to a whole new level is journalist Akshat Rathi. He did an experiment where he got a mere 4.5 hours of sleep a day for one year in an effort to find more time to study for his doctorate.
“[I had some concerns because] the science wasn’t clear on what exactly the downsides would be on someone my age. I was 22 years old then. So, as a safety precaution, I asked friends to keep an eye on me as I cut down on how much I slept,” Rathi told The Cheat Sheet. Rathi completed his experiment, but one question remains: Would he ever do it again?
“[I] probably won’t do it again. But if I had to, I would do it for only a few months instead of a year,” said Rathi.
This is no surprise considering how sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your body. Some of the results of not getting enough shut-eye include poor immunity, decreased heart health, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.
“Poor sleep can be caused by a multitude of factors. Changes in health, such as experiencing pain, or a change in medication, can disrupt sleep. Lifestyle changes such as the birth of a baby, starting a new job, or retirement can cause changes in sleep patterns. Our physical environment can also affect our sleep. Noise, light, and unsafe environments can be a barrier to obtaining restorative sleep. Lastly, sleep is influenced by both physical and mental processes. Excessive stress can also be activating and result in poor sleep,” Dr. Natalie Dautovich, National Sleep Foundation environmental scholar, told The Cheat Sheet.
If you’re tossing and turning each night, here are six things you can do to ensure you sleep like a ninja and get more rest every night.
1. Reduce stress
While this is easier said than done, there are some changes you can make to your lifestyle that can help you lower stress and anxiety. Constantly being on edge and in a fight-or-flight state will eventually take its toll. Taking steps to reduce stress will help you feel more relaxed throughout the day, so it will be easier to wind down when it’s time to go to bed. Take a yoga class or go for a walk around your neighborhood.
“Stress is the struggle with what is. A mind that doesn’t have what it wants or doesn’t want what it has experiences stress. The plethora of choices we have to sift through each day at life’s ever-increasing speed worsens stress. Saddled with hundreds of “open files” in the mind, we spend half our day physically here but mentally elsewhere. We get so caught up weeding the yard that we completely miss the tulips that nature gives us for a few precious weeks. We postpone joy,” said Dr. Amit Sood in The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living.
2. Adjust your diet
If your four-cup-a-day coffee habit gives you the shakes, it’s time to cut back. Sometimes poor sleep is due to a bad diet. If tea isn’t your thing, try decaf. If you perk your coffee at home, you can also try putting less coffee grains in your coffee maker. While it might be a little watery, you’ll be one step closer to sweeter dreams.
3. Get to bed earlier
If you don’t go to bed until you’re so exhausted that you fall asleep in your clothes, this is a clear sign that you need more sleep. Even if you just lie in bed until you feel sleepy, this is one step toward developing better sleep habits.
“Studies have shown that just one night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin resistant as a type-2 diabetic. This translates directly into aging faster, decreased libido, and storing more body fat than you want to,” said Shawn Stevenson in Sleep Smarter.
4. Adjust your environment
While you may not be able to control the elements like Air Bender, you can control the environment in your bedroom. Lower the lights and play soothing music. A few small adjustments can make a big difference. Before you know it, you’ll be snoozing.
“Your daytime activities, evening routine, and bedroom environment are all important for achieving good sleep health. There are many small changes that we can make in our daily lives to achieve healthy sleep, said Dautovich, who recommends The National Sleep Foundation’s sister site, Sleep.org, for sleep-hygiene tips.
5. Ban technology from your bed
In a one Bank of America study, 71% of respondents admitted to sleeping with their smartphones. Roughly 23% said they fall asleep with their phone still in their hand. If you want to get a better night’s sleep, you’ll have to part ways with your electronic devices before bedtime.
“In the evening, power down electronics at least an hour before bed to avoid both the mental and physical stimulation from these devices,” said Dautovich.
6. See your doctor
If you continue to have trouble sleeping, make an appointment with your primary care physician. This way you can check to see if you have a sleep disorder or some other underlying health issue such as depression or cardiovascular disease.