There are a number of life aspects that we all need to be careful about in order to stay healthy. Eating a healthy diet and incorporating some form of exercise are essential, but sleep is equally important. A good night’s rest has many implications beyond just making you feel refreshed. Insufficient sleep usually makes us irritable and more likely to suffer from anxiety. Additionally, a lack of sleep is implicated in heart disease and weight gain.
Summer can be a very difficult season for sleep. During the summer months, there is more light later in the day and your body rhythm needs to shift accordingly. Light signals your body what time of the day it is. If it is bright late at night, this can push your rhythm back. If you normally go to bed at 10 pm then due to brighter light during summer your body thinks it is earlier, thus it will take some time to adjust.
There are many other problems that can disturb sleep patterns during the summer months. Allergies can be a big problem because there are many sufferers of hay fever who simply cannot get sufficient sleep during the night time due to blocked noses and breathing difficulties.
Some symptoms of sleep loss
Although stress can occur as a result of many factors, if you are feeling extra stressed out, the cause could be a lack of sleep. Getting a good night’s rest can make you feel more relaxed throughout the day and you are then more capable of handling stressful situations. According to a study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania, participants limited to four and a half hours of sleep per night for one week reported feeling more stressed out and mentally exhausted, than getting eight hours sleep.
A lack of sufficient sleep can also affect your decision making skills. Researchers studying this subject found that sleep deprived participants chose riskier options than those who received an adequate amount of sleep.
Feeling tired during the daytime is an obvious sign of a lack of sleep, but if you notice that you are making more errors throughout the day then this could also be sleep related.
Cravings may be associated with a lack of sleep. If you start craving for unhealthy food especially at night then the problem could be that you did not sleep well the night before. The reason for this is the increased amount of the stress hormone cortisol which causes excess insulin. Since insulin breaks down sugar for energy, this increased insulin results in low sugar levels in the bloodstream resulting in the body signalling the brain for more food.
Aside from the craving for food, sudden weight gain may be associated with a lack of sleep. A lack of sleep results in fatigue and tiredness which would also reduce the desire to exercise. According to various studies, insufficient sleep may also increase appetite leading to weight gain.
A lack of sleep might impact libido. Aside from the obvious feelings of tiredness, a lack of sleep impacts on testosterone, which can lead to reduced sex drive. When you combine low sex drive with high stress and weight gain, it is not difficult to ascertain why relationship troubles are high on the list if you have deprived sleep.
In some cases, the signs of depression may be related to a lack of sleep. For some people, treating sleep disorders can help to relieve the signs of depression.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, your GP will recommend possibly dietary and lifestyle changes perhaps with some sort of medication and in some cases high blood pressure may be due to lack of sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep helps to regulate your stress hormones and the nervous system, both of which have an influence on blood pressure.
Finally, a lack of sleep can result in more colds and infections. Sleep deprivation prevents the production of vital proteins that contribute to the optimal function of the immune system.
Simple tips to improve your sleep quality
Some minor changes can make a massive difference to sleep duration and quality as outlined below.
Ensure that the environment around you is conducive to sleep. During the summer when it may be bright until quite late, the use of blackout blinds or heavy lined curtains will keep the light out and help to induce sleep.
Do not get stressed about your lack of sleep. Stress causes the release of a hormone that blocks the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and will only make matters worse. Instead use relaxation techniques, CD’s and other aids to help calm the mind.
Make sure you have the right bedding during the summer months that allows the skin to breathe and you do not get too hot in bed. Also ensure that your pillow is the correct choice for your sleeping preference; investing in a good pillow will be well worth the money.
If you have taken all these things into account and your sleep quality has not improved, then consider the use of a natural supplement such as Cherry Night. Cherry Night contains a high strength extract of Morello cherries, which are a type of sour cherry known for their nerve calming properties and the extracts are naturally rich in melatonin, the sleep hormone. It has a very mild taste of cherries and is generally very palatable. It will take a good week for your melatonin levels to build up, so you do need to persevere before you reap the benefits.