Monday, December 11, 2023

Be vigilant about your sleep

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Do you get eight hours of restful sleep?

Do you feel rested or tired after waking up in the morning?

Chances are you didn’t and you’re tired after waking up.

You robotically turn to coffee or tea to help you get through your day and its rinse and repeat.

I’m here to shatter that vicious cycle.

It’s time to take a few tips from truckers, also known as shift workers.

According to business insiders news — one-third of  the worlds population suffer from some sleep disorder. Getting enough sleep and good quality sleep every night is essential to have productive awake hours. Sleep as we all know is very important for your physical and mental health, but it isn’t an easy feat to get that restful night for many people.

Shift workers know how to make the most of their sleep time and are strategic about napping, sharing their tips with you —

  1. Good sleep hygiene

The sleep habits you follow each day is known as sleep hygiene. Your sleep hygiene is so important because it can make or break how well you sleep.

 It all comes down to sleep quality

Two people can sleep for eight hours straight but wake up feeling completely different. It all comes down to the quality of sleep, that’s the difference between waking up refreshed and waking up groggy. Truckers and shift workers learn to sleep through sleep classes which teach them how to improve their sleep ‘quality’. This allows them to still feel refreshed in spite of getting fewer hours in bed. Your lifestyle choices and sleep hygiene affect your sleep quality. By improving your sleep habits, boosting your overall health as well as sleeping and staying asleep can positively affect your sleep quality.

  1. Nap strategically

The key to a successful nap is its length. 15 to 30 minutes is the perfect amount of time to feel refreshed after a nap. If you wake up feeling tired and groggy it’s because your nap was too long. The time you sleep is very critical. If you nap for too long it can affect your sleep at night and affect your sleep cycle. Be cautious when you nap. The best time to nap is a little after lunch for 20 minutes in the afternoon. If you’re a shift worker, take advantage of your down time to power nap. The human body is programmed to sleep twice a day- at night and eight hours after you wake up.

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule

Going to bed around the same time everyday can do you well. Having a bedtime is important. Be sure to sleep for 7 to 8 hours at night. Being consistent with the amount you sleep and when you sleep helps reinforce your body’s sleep cycle. Be consistent in your sleep routine, even on weekends.

  1. Find out how much sleep you need

Finding out how much sleep you need is the first step to making sure you don’t have any sleep debt. Sleep debt is all the hours of missed sleep. Sleep debt varies from person to person. Losing sleep can be unavoidable sometimes due to circumstances and life but making up for those lost hours is very important. Use your down time and weekends to clear your sleep debt.

  1. Make up for lost sleep over the weekend

If you have a week that wears you down, you can make up for it on the weekend. The brain is incredibly resilient and it’s very easy to bounce back after two nights of good sleep at the end of a long and tiring week. It’s important to get two periods of good consecutive sleep every week to get rid of the sleep debt you’ve collected from the week. After which your brain washes away the sleep debt and you’re fresh as a daisy on Monday morning. If you only get one day or not even that to make up on all the lost hours of sleep, there is still residual sleep on Monday morning. This residual sleep builds up over time and can affect you negatively.

  1. Give yourself a few minutes to recover after you wake up

It takes approximately 20 minutes for the sleep inertia to subside and to get going with your day. Try a bit of light stretching and walking around to stretch your limbs and muscles after you wake up. Going out in the sunlight can help you wake up and get on with your day.

Conclusion —

Sleep debt and sleep inertia can be dangerous and have a disastrous effect on your health. Be vigilant of the way you sleep and follow some of these tips to improve your sleep habits and quality of sleep. It’s time I learn a thing or two from truckers!

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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