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How much do you really know about sleep and sleeping?

Posted: 24th Aug 2018

How much do you really know about sleep and sleeping? If you feel like you're suffering a personal energy shortage, join the club. Sitting in one position for long periods of time can zap your energy. Your body compares that stillness with going to sleep.

If you're staring at a screen (computer or TV) for the majority of the day, you tend to blink less frequently, leading to dry eyes and eyestrain. This can put you in the mood for sleep. By 2 p.m., you’re moving through your work day in slow motion, your attention is flagging in meetings, and the effort to focus is more than you can summon.

Sleep experts say that if someone feels drowsy during the day, even during boring activities, they haven't had enough sleep. Also, if a person falls asleep in less than five minutes after lying down, they are suffering from severe sleep deprivation. It should take you anywhere from 10-15 minutes to fall asleep! If you're crashing as soon as you hit the pillow then you need to be getting more shut eye.

Using your energy helps make you feel more tired. Exercise can set a person’s biological clock into a consistent wake/sleep pattern and that it may also boost the brain’s production of serotonin, a neurochemical that encourages sleep.

Sometimes, just believing you've slept well, even when you haven't, has been shown to dramatically improve performance. Like a self-induced sleep effect.

Another thing with sleep is that different foods can affect sleep in many ways. It’s not just caffeine or ginseng... it's also everyday food components. For example: carbs (generally) make you sleepy, while protein makes you more alert. So, having pasta for lunch may seem like a good idea, but it will make you more tired. Yes, the carbs give you a jolt of energy, but eating refined carbohydrates like pasta can cause a rise in blood sugar, followed by a plunge in insulin levels, which can cause fatigue and weakness. Same goes for white bread, pastries, muffins, and processed foods. Their high flour and sugar content will bring on drowsiness.

Do you wake up feeling refreshed on most days of the week, or are you not a morning person? Getting a good night's sleep affects every aspect of your day, including your mood and your ability to be productive. And if that doesn't get your attention, your sleep habits can even affect the number on the scale!

There are many possible causes for feeling chronically tired. It's important to rule out medical conditions first, as fatigue often accompanies illness.

However, feeling overly tired may be related to what you eat and drink, how much activity you get or the way you manage stress.

The good news is that making a few lifestyle changes may very well improve your energy levels and overall quality of life.