In a world where stress levels are rising, exposure to natural sunlight outdoors is diminishing, and technology is leading to constant demands for everybody’s attention, it’s no surprise that so many people struggle to get enough sleep.
What does it mean to be “sleep deprived”?
The broad definition of sleep deprivation is “the condition that occurs if you don’t get enough sleep.” The amount of hours for a good sleep is usually about 7–9 hours per night for adults (and even more for children and teens).
Is Sleep Deprivation an Epidemic Today?
Getting enough sleep is a vital, dynamic part of a healthy lifestyle. The body needs adequate rest each night for a variety of reasons, including:
• fighting illnesses
• strengthening the immune system
• repairing damaged tissues
• hormonal balance
• maintaining cognitive health
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
• A disorder that disrupts sleep (thyroid, pain, acid reflux or sleep apnea).
• A demanding, busy schedule. This can include lots of time commuting and family obligations.
• High amounts of stress.
• Effects of certain medications or stimulants.
• Alcohol consumption or using other stimulants.
• Eating a poor diet that can lead to blood sugar fluctuations.
• Eating too close to bedtime, or not eating enough with dinner/later in the day
• Pregnancy and experiencing other hormonal changes.
6 Natural Treatments for Sleep Deprivation
- Manage Stress : Some simple ways of dealing with stress in one’s life include practicing yoga, meditation, deep breathing, stretching or even playing an instrument.
- Avoid Blue Light at Night: try to minimise the use of your phone, computer & TV at night and instead find yourself a book that you can indulge yourself in.
- Increase Exposure to Natural Light During the Day: In order to regulate your body clock, it is important to get enough natural light for the production of Vitamin D, as well as the regulation of melatonin which helps the body sleep.
- Exercise: Keeping active daily is very important. At least 30 – 60 minutes a day, keeps the body active, promotes better sleep, which improves your overall health.
- Adjust Your Diet: Eating a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, raw dairy, protein (e.g. salmon or beef). Eating approximately 4-5 times a day is recommended as it increases an individual’s metabolism. Including a protein in your snack helps to keep you fuller for longer. Also trying not to snack after dinner time, particularly foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates.
- Create a “Bedtime Routine”: Creating a routine is important for good sleep hygiene when the body is exhausted. Keeping your room cooler at night, can initiate sleepiness. Also some people may find it helpful to journal before bedtime, drink herbal teas such as chamomile, stretching or even taking a warm shower.