Fighting Sleep Deprivation

Five Tips To Fight Sleep Deprivation

Despite a desire for a perfect sleep, Americans are not even close to getting the recommended eight hours a night, and 1 in 4 Americans believes the sleep they are getting isn't the quality rest they want and need. "To put sleep deprivation into perspective, 37% of Americans report they have fallen asleep behind the wheel," reported sleep health expert Dr. Sujay Kansagra. About 5% report falling asleep while driving on a monthly basis. Clearly, sleep deprivation is wide-spread and a risk factor for overall well-being.

With chronic sleep deprivation, the brain's ability to maintain attention and focus continues to decline over time. In addition to impairing mental function, lack of sleep has been associated with a host of risks to overall health.

Preventing sleep deprivation and taking charge of your mental and physical health can be achieved by following these 5 tips:

  • Nap responsibly. When you're feeling tired, it should be no surprise the best solution may be sleep. Some research suggests a quick power nap can actually give you a stronger boost than caffeine. However, too much rest during the day can throw off your nighttime sleep pattern. Aim for no more than 20 minutes so you do not wake up groggy, and time your nap for the mid-point of your wake cycle (half way between when you wake up and go to sleep).

  • Limit screen time. If you turn to your phone to help wind down while you're in bed, you're not alone, but you may be doing more harm than good. According to a recent survey on sleep habits, the average person scrolls on his or her phone while lying in bed for more than 12 minutes before shutting down for the night. What's more, the light from the screen serves as a stimulant, as does the digital content that you are viewing. That means you're making it physically harder to fall asleep than if you put your devices down at least 30 minutes before bed.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. The average person gets less than six hours of sleep per night, according to the recent study - a far cry from the eight hours that most experts recommend. One way to buck this trend is to make it a point to turn in and wake up at the same time every day so you synchronize your sleep time with your internal clock. While eight hours is the standard, you may need to adjust up or down to find the amount of sleep that lets you wake feeling rested.                                                                                                                              Develop a pre-bedtime routine. You can train your body to prepare for sleep by creating a pattern or a routine that eases you toward sleep.                                                                                                                                            Even something as simple as putting on a sleep mask each night, reading in bed for 20 minutes or practicing the same shower routine at the same time every night signals to your brain it's time to hit the hay. Creating a bedtime routine that last 20-30 minutes and sticking to that routine can make all of the difference in your energy, productivity and of your mood come morning and throughout the following day.

  • Find the right sleep position. If you're looking for the secret to a good night's sleep, comfort may be the key. According to the survey, those who sleep on their backs at night are most likely to repost they slept "perfectly well." The most common sleeping position, on your side, correlates with the worst sleep reports. It may take some trial and error to find the right position that keeps your spine aligned, allows you to breathe freely and evenly distributes your weight. 

  • Dinner time meals, and the selection of cuisine play a crucial role in whether your body will be lying at rest or working hard at digestion. Eating earlier and lighter is the best rule to follow each evening. To wake hungry is to wake healthy and giving this a try may well be the one routine to follow that will change the way you prepare for bed each evening given what could well be some very dramatic and beneficial results.

Doctor Sujay Kansagra