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It’s a Sunday night and your long weekend is coming to an end. Although you would have liked to rest, the reality is that you couldn’t because of that dinner party on Friday night, late night dessert and coffee with friends on Saturday, and of course, the big game on Sunday. While it’s been a great weekend, it’s 2 A.M. and you’re facing the harsh reality that you have to be in the office in six hours. So, what now?
A lack or loss of sleep affects your brain and performance in too many ways to count. Not getting enough sleep is a leading cause behind having difficulty concentrating, making decisions, remembering things, as well as your affecting reaction time. “If you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep, you’re not at your best,” says Thomas Balkin, PhD, director of behavioral biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md.
In order to combat these negative effects of poor sleeping patterns check out these ways to get better night’s sleep:
Forcing yourself to go to bed at a certain time creates a routine that will become easier as time goes on. Consistency creates habit, and a habit of getting to sleep at a reasonable hour would give your body the much-needed rest it deserves.
Regular physical activity promotes a healthy lifestyle, but be sure to time your exercise wisely. Exercising too close to bedtime may cause you to not be able to fall asleep. Most scientists recommend exercising in the morning and mid afternoon, as those are times when your body can use a spurt of energy, as well as times that are not close to bed time.
That’s not the only reason exercise is important, though. Recent research from UCLA shows that exercise stimulates the brain plasticity and stimulates new connections between brain cells, throughout all of the brain.
While food is vital, eating it on somewhat of a schedule is important, too. Unfortunately, in America, with our hustle-and-bustle culture, most people neglect to sit down and have three perfectly portioned meals at 7 a.m., 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. Instead, with our ‘snacking culture,’ many of our bodies expect to be fed every 2-3 hours, even late in to the evening. Eating too much can cause a spike in blood pressure, ultimately leading to a lack of sleep and exhaustion at work the next day. Keeping oneself in the bad habit of constantly snacking not only leads to poor physical health, but also mental exhaustion. While it isn’t realistic to sit down and eat at the same times every day, not consuming a meal past 8 p.m. is ideal. As an alterative, The National Sleep Foundation mentions that consuming a small portion of proteins and carbs—such as milk and cereal—make for an excellent ‘midnight snack’ for those who can’t seem to get to bed without it.
In a world where there are coffee shops on every street corner and energy supplements are more accessible than ever before, many people have stopped considering deep sleep, altogether, with plenty of people simply opting for naps. The National Sleep Foundation says that the average adult (aged 26-64 year) needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, in order to be ‘fully functioning,’ or performing physically and mentally at their best. Gregory Grier wants nothing more than for you to succeed in the workplace and hopes that you’ll join us in sleeping better!