It's a dilemma, I know. When my daughter was a preschooler, she said sleep was a waste of time, she would rather play. I'm sure many teenagers and even adults would agree with that too. So many things you want to do, so little time, right?
However, frequent sleep deprivation has negative effects on our mind and body. Our mood, concentration, memory, decision-making skills decline, impacting daily functioning and relationships. Physically, our body becomes susceptible to inflammation, and increased risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. With all these negative effects, it is crucial that we ensure the right conditions for good sleep.
Have you ever felt exhausted, yet still not able to fall asleep after lying in bed for what seemed like hours? That's because sleep is not as straightforward as being tired. A busy mind, body tension and some lifestyle habits may get in the way of sleep.
Here are the top 3 tips for better sleep:
Sleep hygiene refers to habits that may affect the quality of our sleep. There are several more recommendations for good sleep hygiene, check them out here.
Suddenly recall at bedtime there's something you forgot to do? Or an unsolved problem keeps bugging you? As a rule of thumb, if it cannot be easily completed in a minute, leave it for the next day. Write it down or save a reminder in your phone, and tell yourself firmly: I will deal with it tomorrow.
Your mind might still wander to the unfinished business as you try to fall asleep. Try a progressive muscle relaxation or a mindful body scan, which will bring a sense of calmness and peace to your mind.
A person going through anxiety or depression might have difficulty sleeping, due to troubling thoughts in his mind. Depression might also make it hard for the person to get out of bed, seemingly sleeping a lot but still feeling tired all the time.
With poor sleep, it is then difficult for the mood to improve, thus setting up a vicious cycle where the sleep and mood problems reinforce each other.
Identify stressors and find ways to deal with them effectively, get assessed and treated for mood disorders, so they don't get in the way of your sleep.
If you have persistent sleep problems despite working on your sleep hygiene as mentioned above, there may be underlying medical conditions affecting your sleep.
Consult a doctor to discuss your concerns. The doctor can then refer you to a specialised Sleep Disorder clinic if necessary, where they can do an overnight sleep study to understand the possible causes of your poor sleep.
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