5 Important Sleep Training Tips from a Sleep Coach
The epidemic of sleep deprivation that’s taking North America by storm, calls for a much needed Sleep Coach.
According to the American Sleep Association, one-third of the adult population logs less than seven hours of sleep each night, 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from a sleep disorder, and seven out of 10 say they experience stress and anxiety that interrupts their sleep daily. These numbers are both shocking and concerning.
What is Sleep Coaching ?
Sleep coaching is the way to focus on empowering clients to reach their goals around better sleep by pointing them to what research and clinical experiences have shown to be most effective.
Side effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep has a drastic impact on overall health and wellness. “In fact, sleep is the glue that keeps our mind and body in tact,” the Sleep Coach says.
A study done by the Mental Health Foundation found that people that didn’t get enough sleep were four times more likely to suffer from lack of concentration, have relationship problems, and three times more likely to be depressed. If you find yourself in a bad mood, easily irritable, forgetful, or just plain groggy, take that as a warning sign— your body is trying to tell you it needs more sleep.
Even worse, long term consequences of sleep deprivation. Research shows lack of sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure, immunodeficiency, diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease. In fact, one study found getting less than six hours of sleep on a regular basis increases your chances of dying from heart disease by 48 percent. So what can you do?
5 Important Sleep Training Tips from Sleep Coach
Looks like you may need a few sleeping tips from a sleep coach. Here are five points settling your score with the sandman:
1. Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it
Did you know, bedtimes aren’t just for little kids? That’s right. Our bodies were designed to sleep and wake at the same time each day. This is all thanks to our body’s internal clock known as our circadian rhythm.
If you’ve noticed you get sleepy at the same times each day or you find yourself waking up just before your alarm, your circadian rhythm is at work!
Before the invention of light-bulbs, our bodies went to bed and rose with the sun. With the invention of artificial light and technology, we can keep ourselves up far after the sun has set.
Now, it’s our responsibility to signal to our brain it’s time to sleep. And that takes discipline.
2. Assess the condition of your sleeping structure
We spend an average of 27 years in bed over the course of our lifetime, making our mattress arguably the most important piece of furniture we could splurge on. If you tend to wake up with aches or pains, or you notice a sag towards the middle of the bed, it may be time to bite the bullet and go shopping.
However, your mattress isn’t the only thing to consider. Take a look at your bedding accessories too. We’re talking sheets, pillows and everything in between. Your sleeping structure as a whole impacts the quality of sleep you get. Make sure your bed is the sleep cocoon you long to curl up in come nighttime.
3. Stash the screens an hour before bed
Martin Reed, one special sleep coach better known as the Insomnia Coach, says screen time before bed should be limited for two reasons:
Using an electronic device keeps the mind active, making it harder for us to wind-down and prepare for sleep.
Secondly, the blue-light emitted by our technology’s screens suppresses the production of melatonin—the hormone responsible for making us sleepy. Melatonin levels start off low and rise throughout the day to help us prepare for sleep at night. If we suppress this melatonin production shortly before going to bed (for example, by using electronic devices), it’s harder to fall asleep.
4. Optimize your sleeping environment
The three most important environmental factors that affect your sleep (besides your bed) are light, temperature, and noise.
- Light - Did you know there are light-sensitive cells in our eyes that trigger our body’s circadian rhythm? A dark environment signals to our brains when it’s time for sleep. Make sure to eliminate internal and external light pollution come bedtime.
- Temperature - At night our core body temperature drops one to two degrees to help us fall and stay asleep. In an optimal sleep environment, you should set the room temperature to around 65 to 68 degrees. It’s okay to pile on blankets. Even just exposing your head to the cool temps will keep your body temperature low.
- Noise - Noise is a common disturbance of sleep. An optimal sleep environment is a quiet one. Avoid running appliances like the dishwasher or laundry machine at night. If you are located near a busy street, try using a white noise machine or ear plugs to help mask the noise.
5. Skip the late-afternoon caffeine fix
Caffeine is a stimulant very similar to adenosine, the hormone that keeps you awake during the day. When your body gets even a little caffeine, you are telling it to stay awake. Obviously, coffee before bed is a no-no for most people to get quality sleep, but did you know caffeine can last in your system between four and eight hours? So that 2 p.m. coffee fix might still be keeping you alert come bedtime. Enjoy your morning brew, but try cutting out that afternoon buzz.
Note: Above of the Sleep Training tips are only beneficial when put into practice. For something so crucial to your health, it’s important you protect it.
Lisa Smalls is a freelance writer from Raleigh, NC. Having suffered from insomnia most of her adult life, she loves educating on sleep health. twitter; @smallzsaythisere...