Very few of us with our hectic and busy lifestyles can claim to get enough sleep. For many it feels that there are simply not enough hours in the day in which to get things done and this extends to sleeping. This is also a common problem for newbie parents with new born babies keeping everyone awake during the small hours. Experts recommend on average that we aim to get seven to eight hours a day to allow our body to recuperate and replenish our energy levels. Many however barely get six hours of sleep a night. Some parents struggle to get four straight hours.
Problems associated with lack of sleep
Tiredness can affect us in many ways. We often feel sluggish, lacking in energy and have trouble concentrating. Not getting enough sleep can have an adverse effect on our day to day lives and over a prolonged period of time, can also negatively impact on our health. Our bodies use the rest time that we spend sleeping, repairing and replenishing our bodies. If our sleep pattern is such that our bodies do not get the required time to do this, we can develop illness and even disease.
Ways to stay healthy on a little amount of sleep
Although sleep is important, anyone who spends a sufficient time in bed may not be getting quality sleep. This can be just as dangerous in the long term. The first thing is to not panic, it is much better to get two hours of quality sleep than several hours of disturbed sleep. Naps are a good way of getting smaller amounts of sleep over a longer period. Just 15 minutes spent napping in the afternoon can be enough to see you through the rest of the day. If you are able to completely switch off and relax in this amount of time, then just let your body do the rest.
Exercise is always billed as the best way to keep fit and healthy, but what you may not know is that it is also a good way of promoting sleep. Just a 30 minute session of exercise is a great way to burn off excess energy along with any calories that also need burning off. Any sort of activity is beneficial, from walking and running to swimming and tennis. If you can fit in some exercise at least an hour before sleeping, then you will gain the most benefit.
In any healthy lifestyle you should be careful about what you are eating and drinking. Try to not eat a big meal before going to bed. The resulting digestion will not be conducive to a good nights sleep. Chocolate, alcohol and caffeine based drinks are all stimulants and when consumed will have a wakening effect. It is therefore best to avoid these in the evening if you want to get some quality rest, otherwise they could keep you awake most of the night.
Lastly, do all you can to relax yourself before going to sleep. Having some quiet time in a darkened room without distraction will help you drop off quicker which is especially important if you have a limited amount of time in which to sleep.