The CDC published an alarming article on the state of sleep problems in the United States, findingover 35 percent of Americans regularly dont getenough sleep. This is causing a number of problems increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, higher risk of heart disease, weight gain, depression and impaired social skills
The CDC has a valid point. However, warning people about their sleep problems rarely helps them. It turns out, people tend to have a harder time overcoming their sleep disorders if they focus on them too closely.
Dont obsess over getting eight hours a sleep a night.
Too many people obsess over sleep problems, which often makes them worse. And it seems their obsessions are often rooted in the misconceptionof needing eight hours of sleep every night.
A study from the University of California recently found there isnt any pressing reason for people to get over six-and-a-half hours of sleep a night.
Some people actually need less than eight hours a night, and they could only be making their sleep problems worse by going to bed earlier than necessary.
Professor Kevin Morgan, Director of the Clinical Sleep Research Unit and Loughborough University, advises people to listen to their own bodies,instead of desperately tryingto get eight hours of sleep every night:
If you wake up feeling reasonably refreshed, generally function properly during the day and feel sleepy around bedtime, then youre probably getting enough sleep.
Rather than counting the hours of sleep you receive every night, use your own body as a barometer.
Do you feel well-rested after about six hoursof sleep every night? If so, then thatsprobably all the sleep that you need.
Theres no point in trying to force yourself to sleep longer, as the overall quality of your sleep might be lower.
Dont stress out over sleep deprivation.
If you are having trouble sleeping, obsessing about it only makes the problem worse. Here are some habits you need to avoid:
1. Dont try to fall asleep.
People with insomnia often stress themselves out about falling asleep. They view it as a difficult challenge that requires a lot of work. They may follow a variety of rituals, such as reading, meditating or taking sleeping medication.
While these measures can certainly help, they arent always possible, and you may begin to condition your mind to believe you wont be fall asleep if you dont follow them.
Its better just towork on relaxing yourselfand dimming the lights, rather than obsessing over falling asleep.
2. Stop looking at the clock.
When you look at the clock and see what time it is, you become more anxious about getting enough sleep. You start to realize how little sleep you are getting, which makes it that much harder to drift away.
3. Dont think sleep problems will ruin your life.
Its easy to think about all the ways not getting enough sleep can make your life more difficult, especially if you start worrying about the presentation you have to giveyour boss or the test youre taking the next day.
Remind yourself you can still function perfectly fine, even if you dont sleep perfectly. When you stop thinking of falling asleep as a hurdle you need to overcome, it becomes much easier to let yourself fall asleep.
4. View all rest as productive.
Dont think the time you spend in bed is wasted if you cant fall asleep. As long as youre resting peacefully in a dark room, you still will be rejuvenating your body and mind.
Changing your mindset is the most important thing you need to do to get a good nights rest. If you are still having trouble, you may need to change your daily routine.
Overall, dont let chronic sleep problems ruin your life. Limiting your use of electronics at night, eating fewer grains and more fats and prioritizing your exercise routine are all simple lifestyle changes to make sure youre falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up feeling rested.
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