By definition, sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep. Not sleeping enough, and not sleeping well, is not OK.
Too many people, mostly the young ones, don’t take it seriously, and the consequences of prolonged lack of sleep can be dangerous for the body, especially if combined with other bad habits like use of alcohol.
Here you’re going to learn a few tips to relieve sleep deprivation and get back to the habit of sleeping for a full night.
The Frustration of Sleep Deprivation
Not being able to fall asleep. Or wake up in the middle of the night with a bunch of thoughts that don’t let your brain rest, making it basically impossible to fall asleep again.
Does it ever happen to you?
I am sure it happens to everybody, sometimes, to consider our own bed more like an uncomfortable place to be, rather than a haven where we can finally rest and recharge our batteries.
And it is one of the most frustrating experiences, isn’t it?
You turn…and turn…look at the clock and realize that you only have a few hours left before the alarm will go off.
Then you think “I have to fall asleep soon, or it’ll be too late!” And the more you think of it, the more you feel nervous and wide awake.
Immediately you think of how the next day will be: tiredness, zero energy, maybe headaches and…much more irritable than usual.
Unfortunately, very often these “prophecies” come true, and usually contribute to make you even more anxious the next day, when it comes time to go to bed.
Am I going to fall asleep fast tonight? Will I be able to sleep through all night and feel rested tomorrow?
I don’t know about you, but these thoughts are so frustrating to me, and make it harder to get to sleep the next evening.
I remember the last time I changed job… I had to start working one hour earlier every day, which means that I had to go to bed one hour earlier if I wanted to sleep for the same number of hours.
But I was never sleepy one hour earlier so, for a couple more weeks, I went to bed at the usual time. Every day I was sleeping one hour less than I used to, which led me to be more and more tired every day.
Eventually, I was always anxious at bedtime, with the fear of not being able to fall asleep.
My sleep deprivation caused me so much frustration, tiredness, and mood changes.
If this ever happened to you, you know exactly what I mean.
The truth is that many people are affected by it, and the causes of sleep deprivation are not only linked to what they eat for supper…
The main cause of our sleep problems is, again, the difficulty to manage stress.
How to Relieve Sleep Deprivation at Home
At this point, you must feel at least a little less alone, but that doesn’t really help.
Our goal here is to find out how to SOLVE our sleep problems, right?
Here are some ways to relieve sleep deprivation.
I can confirm that breathing exercises can really help relax and dramatically improve sleep. Especially the “falling asleep” part.
It won’t work from day one, but after a few days of practice you are going to notice a difference:
- Once in bed, place your right hand on your abdomen and the left on your chest.
- Concentrate on your breathing.
- Imagine the air that slowly comes into your body and fills your lungs while you inhale.
- Exhale slowly, and follow the whole path that the air has to come out of your body.
- When you inhale, don’t fill your lungs 100%. This is difficult at the beginning, but you need to stop inhaling before you feel “satisfied”.
- Exhale all the air, all of it, and hold on a few seconds before you inhale again.
During this time, many thoughts can come to your mind, but don’t distract, just concentrate on the breathing and on the work that your body is doing.
This should relax body and mind, and finally let you fall asleep gracefully.
Counting sheeps is old school. Just use your imagination
Imagination plays a big role in keeping our mind away from other stressful thoughts (every day life problems, work etc.).
Think of something you desire, something that you would like to do, and imagine it happen, like in a movie.
You would love to go on vacation in a certain place? Just imagine it, in details.
You would like to go on some off-road adventures with your 4×4? Imagine it, let your mind relax thinking of what you would like to do!
I followed this advice after reading it somewhere, and it works great!
Write Down Notes
Something like: “I forgot my wallet on the desk, I have to remember to put it back in my jacket“, or “I need to cancel my dentist appointment first thing in the morning“.
These are usually stressful thoughts that can really keep you awake for a long time at night!
Solution? Keep a piece of paper beside your bed, and write down your TO-DO list, so that you won’t worry about it anymore. In fact, you know that in the morning everything will be written down and you won’t forget anything.
Don’t Drink Too Much Before Bedtime
How many times did you wake up a few hours after being asleep, to go use the bathroom? Okay, and was it easy to fall asleep again?
I guess it depends on the time. But the point is, a way to relieve sleep deprivation is to not drink anything for one or two hours before you go to bed.
Let me tell you, sometimes I knew that at some point I was going to wake up to go use the bathroom, and I knew that if it had happened after 4 am, then I wouldn’t have been able to sleep again.
Sooooo…I set my alarm at 2 am. Yes. Crazy.
But at that time I forced myself to wake up and go use the bathroom.
I was so tired and sleepy that when I crawled back to bed I fell asleep in no time, sleeping till morning. What a genius.
It’s funny to think about it, but if you regularly wake up at night to go pee…why not doing it a little earlier and still have a chance to sleep?
This was actually one of my most effective natural remedy for sleep deprivation!
Listen to Music
Another way to relieve sleep deprivation is listen to some music when you go to bed.
How many times I fell asleep with earphones on…! Of course, if you are a heavy metal freak…well this might not work for you.
Melatonin is the sleep hormone that our body produces naturally.
I take it sometimes, when I know for a fact that I am not going to settle fast in bed.
It works great, and it even relaxes your mind, but don’t take it too often or it will stop being effective.
It is really the best way to solve sleep deprivation due to jet lag or too much coffee during the day.
Reduce Coffee and Caffeine Intake
Speaking of coffee, avoid it not only after 7 pm, but after 12 pm.
Caffeine stays in your system for something like 12 hours. I drink coffee only in the morning, actually I avoid it after 10 am.
Remember that coffee is much more effective on people that don’t use to drink it very often.
A person that is not used to coffee will find it harder to fall asleep than a person that drinks coffee every day.
Instead, prefer some herbal tea or chamomile, a couple of hours before bedtime. Its relaxing properties can set you ready for a nice and long sleep!
Don’t drink it too close to bedtime, or you’ll fall asleep fast, but also wake up soon to pee.
No Physical Activities in the Evening
I used to play soccer in the evenings, and after all, I was ready for bed around midnight. What a mistake.
Playing sports at night is one of the frequent causes of sleep deprivation because it turns on your body, gets the blood flowing, and your heart pumping. Then it’s hard to settle.
If you want to start relieve sleep deprivation, make the conditions for you to soothe and be ready for bed after supper. Which leads to the next remedy for sleep deprivation.
Keep the Environment Dark and Quiet
Turn off the electronic devices (some clocks can be really bright at night), don’t play with your smartphone before you try to sleep (high contrast can lower your melatonin levels).
Put your kids in bed early, just make sure that when you go to bed everything is quiet, and close the curtains, blinds etc.
Especially in the summer, early sunrise is most likely to wake you up early.
This is all about ways to relieve sleep deprivation for now, and if you follow this advice I am sure that you will be able to improve your sleep, and then your mood and everything that is connected.
Life is better when you sleep enough. And well!
What’s your solution for sleep deprivation?