There's some dispute regarding exactly how long the average human can go without sleep (though the record is somewhere around 264 hours). But regardless of how long we can go, most of us don't want to get too far behind.
In an effort to sleep better, we're often forced to resort to strange and sometimes even risky measures. Yet sleep can remain elusive no matter how many sheep we count. And since even moderate sleep deprivation can lead to slowed reflexes and sub-par driving, Esurance has put together a few sleep tips to help you get the shut eye you need.
How much sleep is enough?
Though 8 hours per night is generally enough for most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation, there's no magical amount. Pay attention to how rejuvenated you feel the next day to determine the right amount of sleep for you.
Talk to your physician
Failure to get a good night's rest may be the result of a medical condition. Your doctor can help determine if you have a sleep disorder and what kind of treatment is needed. Make sure you tell your doctor about any medications you're taking, prescription or over-the-counter, because these may be the culprit.
Give your room a makeover
Your bedroom should be reserved for sleeping, so it's important that you feel relaxed within those four walls. This means keeping the telephone, computer, and TV in another room (or covering them when not in use if you're short on space). You may also want to remove any other potential stresses such as work documents or bills.
Learn how to wind down
Good sleepers typically rely on a bedtime routine. Research shows that a bath or shower before bed or exercising earlier in the evening can help. Meditating or reading may ease you into a sleepy state as well.
Easier said than done, but not sleeping only exacerbates your worrying. Most problems cannot be solved overnight, but you can take action. Record your thoughts on paper; set a goal to solve the problem; and, as Scarlett O'Hara was fond of saying, tell yourself "I'll think about that tomorrow."
Get your mind off sleeping
Instead of tossing and turning, read a book, listen to a meditation CD, or watch a nonviolent movie so you can at least relax. TV shows may be more disruptive due to commercials and shorter storylines, but reading a book or watching a movie can help to slow down your brain, thereby making it possible to fall asleep.
Simplify your life
Implementing positive changes in your life, no matter how small, can make you feel better, which, in turn, may result in improved sleep. Consider keeping a gratitude journal by your bed to help you appreciate your life as it is or to inspire you to make the necessary changes.
Take the natural approach
Certain herbal teas, such as chamomile, may help you relax. Or try misting your pillows with a lavender-infused linen spray. Supplements containing calcium, magnesium, and zinc are known to induce better REM sleep. As always, consult a physician first.
Don't rely on alcohol
You probably know to stay away from caffeine, but many of us wrongly assume a drink or two will help us fall asleep. Though alcohol may help you fall asleep quickly, the truth is you likely won't achieve a deep sleep or feel rested the next day.
Still can't sleep? Be patient
Developing a new sleep routine usually involves trial and error. Keep trying and keep your physician informed. If your doctor prescribes sleeping pills, be aware of the side effects and use them only as a short-term solution.
While getting the sleep you need is an important part of taking care of your health, remember to make sure you have a health insurance policy that fits your needs as well. Get a health insurance quote online today.
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