Your body is powerful and can usually repair itself, even from drastic amounts of damage. Unfortunately, some of the facts about modern life lead to a set of circumstances which can be incredibly confusing. One of the most common problems I see people facing is a struggle to sleep regularly and well. Whether you are struggling to get to sleep, stay asleep, or keep a consistent schedule, there are things you can do to help your body and mind get the rest they need.
Failing to rest properly can have some unfortunate consequences. In the short term, sleep deprivation can have effects similar to intoxication, where you will experience a loss of coordination and diminished ability to think clearly. Over time, consistent sleep deprivation can lead to a number of very unpleasant health outcomes. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can compromise your immune system, impact your mental health, and lead to other dangerous health problems.
Your body uses a number of cues to help it figure out when it should sleep and wake. Each day it passes through a cycle, and centers in your brain cause the release of different hormones and neurotransmitters based on it’s internal clock. The most important factor in regulating your internal clock is exposure to light. While natural lighting is the best way to set your internal clock, artificial lighting can confuse it. Rather than allowing our bodies to naturally sense what time it is via measuring changes in the amount of light, temperature, and atmosphere, we often live in environments which have constant light and conditions around the clock.
This is why it is important to get away from sources of light before sleeping. Turning down the lights and staying off of electronics for a period of time before getting into bed can help your body to realize that it is time to sleep. Similarly, leaving electronics out of the bedroom will make sure that you don’t have distractions and sources of light. Training your body that the bedroom is a place for sleep can take time, but it is well worth it in the end.
Finally, try to keep a consistent sleep schedule day to day. It might take time, but if you consistently wake at the same time and sleep at the same time, your routine will become more and more engrained.
If you feel that you are doing everything that you can and still struggle, you may have some type of health condition which makes it difficult to rest properly. Consult a doctor or health expert, and bring up your sleeping problems. They may be able to suggest a treatment or supplement you can take to balance out an underlying problem.