We all know the feeling of waking up from a deep sleep to the alarm blaring, wishing you had another hour of rest. With a full eight hours of sleep, you might wonder why you may feel tired and irritable. It can be aggravating to feel like you have your nighttime routine all figured out but still not feel refreshed once the morning comes. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to ensure you feel energized and ready to conquer the day.
- Eliminate technology before bed
Tablets, smartphones, and laptops have become increasingly popular over the past decade, and with the rise of social media and working from home, it can be challenging to put the technology to rest. However, the use of technology or watching TV before bed is linked to increased alertness, which can lead to difficulties falling asleep. Instead, put down the phone, shut off the TV, and try reading or listening to calm music before bed. Dr. Mubdiul Ali, pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist, advises that if you can not fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, get out of bed and come back when you’re ready to fall asleep.
- Watch what you’re eating
Take notice of what/when you’re consuming. A late-night coffee or other foods containing caffeine can leave you feeling restless all night and disrupt your sleep. Dr. Ali even recommends staying away from caffeinated beverages as early as after your lunch, since caffeine can stay in your system for more than five hours.
Avoid meals high in protein that will make you feel uncomfortably full, as your digestion slows down when you’re going to bed. Instead, if you’re craving a late-night snack, choose an option that is easy to digest like oatmeal, applesauce or bananas. In general, developing healthy eating habits like a high-fiber diet, fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, and less sugar can help encourage your overall well-being and sleeping patterns.
- Be aware of sleep debt
Did you get enough sleep last night? What about the night before? If you’ve been having inconsistent sleep patterns over a series of days, you could be experiencing sleep debt. This occurs when you have not had an adequate amount of sleep over a period of time. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides this example of sleep debt: “A person with an eight-hour sleep need, who only gets six hours of sleep each day, for five days, builds a sleep debt of 10 hours.” Dr. Ali says, “sleep is forgiving; try to make up for lost sleep within the week. If you continue to have non-refreshing sleep on regular basis, you should speak to your physician about it.”
The bottom line is that feeling groggy after what you thought was a well-rested slumber is not unusual. In fact, there can be many underlying reasons why you feel so fatigued, including nutrient deficiency, high stress and anxiety levels, hormonal imbalance, and other medical conditions. By implementing these three takeaways, you are a step closer to getting the sleep you need to feel refreshed the next day.