Poor quality sleep negatively affects our energy levels, health, motivation, concentration span, our skin, and even our weight. So, if a good night’s sleep is the first thing you sacrifice when life goes bananas, this is your wake-up call. Poor sleep = Poor health. You should never intentionally deprive yourself of sleep for the sake of finishing reports and meeting work deadlines.
Can’t Sleep? It could be your hormones.
Fluctuating hormone levels before or during your period, and especially throughout menopause can sabotage your dreamtime. Waking up in the middle of night can start long before hot flashes do. Unfortunately, once you wake up, going back to sleep may feel impossible and even stressful.
Did you know that in order to get good quality sleep each night, you need to build up an appetite for it during the day? This appetite is called your ‘Sleep Drive‘. We spoke with Insomnia Specialist and founder of The Insomnia Clinic, Kathryn Pinkham, who explains the concept:
Each day you need to build up what is known as a ‘Sleep Drive’ to fall asleep quickly and sleep through. This is essentially an appetite for sleep, which is built up by time spent awake. Without a healthy Sleep Drive, you’ll struggle to nod off or sleep throughout the night.”
How do you rev-up your Sleep Drive, you ask? For those who can’t sleep, Kathryn has some rather unconventional advice;
In order to make sure you have a high Sleep Drive, you may need to reduce the amount of time you spend in bed.”
To sleep through the night, get out of bed.
Wait… What? That’s right! According to an Insomnia Specialist, you should spend less time in bed if you are having trouble sleeping. At first glance, this sounds pretty radical. However, when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. By shortening your ‘Sleep Window’ you’ll be truly tired when you go to bed, and nighttime waking will be less likely.
Do you need 8-hours of sleep?
If you are wondering how much sleep you really need, Kathryn suggests keeping a Sleep Diary rather than aiming for the 8-hour gold standard.
Keep track of how much good quality sleep you are actually getting. Use this number as a guide for your sleep window. For example, if you can get 6 hours of unbroken sleep then your sleep window should be around 6 hours, so 12am -6am for instance. This means that from 6am – midnight the following day, you are awake and building a strong, healthy appetite for sleep. Stick with this routine seven days a week, and your sleep quality should improve.”
According to Kathryn, a structured routine can help drive your appetite for sleep and will help you maintain a healthier amount of quality zzzz’s. When it comes to sleep, it’s quality over quantity.
still Can’t sleep?
Try this 3-step Strategy:
Kathryn has a few other tricks up her sleeve as well. To boost your Sleep Drive naturally, Kathryn recommends a specific strategy:
1. Put the day to rest by writing down all your worries and thoughts at the same time every day. Make this a habit, so your mind is less likely to wander in the early hours.
2. Avoid associating bed with anything other than sleeping and sex. No phones.
3. If you wake up in the middle of the night, the worst thing to do is stay in bed, focusing on going back to sleep. Time spent awake in bed can lead to insomnia and broken sleep, as you begin to associate your bed with being awake. This can be stressful and lead to anxiety. Instead, leave your bedroom and go read a book until you feel naturally tired.
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As always, we are here to provide information and resources. Awake Organics is not affiliated with any of the third parties mentioned in this post. The content in this post is not sponsored, and is not intended as medical advice. Please read our General Health & Wellbeing Disclaimer for details.