How frustrating it can be to go to bed at a regular time; feel like you have slept through the night and still wake up feeling fatigued? The morning fatigue can lead to days that are not as productive as we would like. Not getting good restful sleep can lead to symptoms such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating and decreased alertness.
How many of you relate to any of the statements below
1. Having an inconsistent sleep schedule. Do you go to bed at different times; particularly on the weekends.
2. Is your bedroom environment conducive to sleep?
3. Is your partner disrupting your sleep?
4. Are you consuming foods or drinks that are disruptive to your sleep?
5. Is there an underlying sleep disorder?
There are certain lifestyle factors that can affect our sleep; one being consuming caffeine later in day. It is found that when caffeine is consumed with in 6 hours of bedtime that it can affect good quality sleep. Even consumption of higher amounts of caffeine throughout the day can cause disruptions in cortisol our stress hormone leading to fatigue.
Consuming alcohol can also be a factor in our sleep. When consuming alcohol you may initially get tired but it affects how we go through our various stages of sleep.
Certain medications both prescription and over the counter can also be a factor in our sleep quality. If you have recently started a new prescription medication and are having disrupted sleep you need to speak with your health care practitioner.
So what are some strategies that you can follow so that you fall asleep well stay asleep and wake refreshed in the morning.
First are you aware that there are specific chronotypes that can guide us to the best possible sleep? Dr. Michael Breus has done extensive research in this area and there is a quiz you can take to determine your chronotype. Our chronotype is determined by our genetic make-up. Specifically why some people are more alert in the morning; others tend to be night owls. Depending on your chronotype he guides you as to the best times to go to bed and wake to get our optimal sleep. He even gives insights into the best time to eat certain foods depending on your chronotype.
His stresses with all types that when you wake try not to stay in bed too long. This leads to fragmented sleep and daytime sleepiness
Below are some simple strategies to create a bedroom environment that supports optimal sleep;
- Keep your bedroom at a cooler temperature. When our body temperature is lower we have deeper sleep
- Keep the bedroom as quiet as possible. For some this may mean wearing ear plugs or incorporating the use of a sound machine.
- The bedroom should be as dark as possible; even wear an eye mask if you need to or purchase black out curtains
- Timing of consuming both alcohol and caffeine can disrupt our sleep both depending on your chronotype and genetics. It can be a benefit particularly if consuming alcohol later in the day after 6:00pm to drink a glass of coconut water, as it is rehydrating.
If you have done the following and tried various routines and supplements to help you sleep and are still experiencing difficulty you may need to have your provider evaluate you for sleep disorders such as narcolepsy; Obstructive sleep apnea and hypersomnia
For more information and a great resource I recommend Dr. Michael Breus book “The Power of When”