According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, almost one-third of American employees revealed that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily work activities at least a few days each month. On top of that, the line between work and home is blurring. Employees are spending an average of nearly 4.5 hours each week doing additional work at home on top of a 9.5 hour average workday at the office.
While the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep each night for adults, 63 percent of Americans claim that their sleep needs are not being met during the week. You may feel like you are being more productive when you skip out on sleep to finish up work, but a lack of sleep can actually have a negative impact on your work performance.
Check out these common sleep issues listed below as well as a few tips on how to help combat them.
Sleep is one of the body’s natural anxiety coping mechanisms. As we sleep, our minds and bodies relax. This not only helps us feel sharper the next day, but it also helps us be able to tolerate some of life’s daily stresses.
Despite this, anxiety can actually make it harder to sleep. In fact, those with persistent stress experience problems sleeping more often. In many cases, it can actually cause a cycle that makes it harder to overcome anxiety in the future.
We’ve all had those nights where our mind starts racing as soon as our head hits the pillow. Whether we’re thinking about our to-do list for the next day or the conversation we had with our boss, it’s hard to fall asleep once anxiety takes over. At some point, it may even be hard to tell whether you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re anxious or if you’re anxious because you can’t sleep.
If you find that your sleep is disrupted on an occasion by anxiety, try stretching before bed to help your body wind down. Using a meditation app before getting under the covers is also a great way to clear your mind as well.
Sunday Night Insomnia
Do you sleep well during the week, but find yourself tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep come Sunday night? Well, you’re not alone. This is actually a common sleep problem known as Sunday night insomnia.
A study by Travelodge revealed that out of 3,500 people surveyed, 60% of workers claimed they have their worst night’s sleep on a Sunday. More than a quarter of the people surveyed also admitted to calling in sick on Monday after not getting a good night’s sleep. 80% of workers reported that they have their best night’s sleep on a Friday. This shows that Sunday night insomnia may have something to do with our working lifestyle.
There are many causes of Sunday night insomnia, including worrying about the next day’s commute or even just knowing that you need to get a good night’s sleep in order to set yourself up for a successful week ahead. But the biggest reason why some people can’t fall asleep on Sunday nights isn’t related to worry.
On weekends we tend to go to bed later and wake up later. Come Sunday night, we aren’t ready to go to bed at our weekday bedtime because we haven’t actually been awake long enough. For many of us, Sunday is a lazy day so a lack of mental and physical activity can also mean that our minds and bodies simply aren’t tired enough to go to sleep.
If you find that you’re having trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights, try going to bed and waking up at the same time on the weekends as you do on the weekdays. This will help regulate your internal clock, allowing you to fall asleep and wake up more easily.
Between worrying about work, family, friends, what our plans are for the weekend, and how much money is in our savings accounts, it can be difficult to shut our brains off. Think about it, how often are you really thinking of nothing?
Not only can a busy mind affect our stress and energy levels, it can also cause digestive disorders, weight gain, and sleep issues. Our many different body functions are governed by the 12 meridians and the meridian that governs over the strength of our digestion, metabolism and energy production also governs over the strength of our minds.
If our body is going over the same thoughts over and over again the meridian will become deficient. When this happens, our digestion and metabolism are weakened because there is no energy in the meridian to do both jobs. When our digestion is weakened, our energy runs low, causing an imbalance in the body. Our bodies will then try to correct the imbalance by affecting another meridian. At this point, you now have two or more meridian imbalances which will lead to other issues including sleep problems.
Some nights, it’s like you can’t get your brain to shut up long enough to fall asleep. If a busy mind is frequently keeping you up at night, develop a bedtime routine to help you and your mind wind down.
It can be easy to fix or adjust our sleep issues when we know the root of them, but what happens when we’re just flat out not tired? Here are some things you can do to help you fall asleep faster when you’re not feeling tired.
- Turn your bedroom into a comfortable oasis fully equipped with all of your sleep needs, including a well-designed mattress, breathable sheets, and a comfortable pillow. Make sure that anything that is going to prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep is removed from your bedroom.
- Our bodies produce a hormone whenever they are exposed to light. Because of this, our bodies will keep themselves awake if they are exposed to a lot of light. Put away all electronics and keep your bedroom dim at least one hour before bed.
- Sometimes when you’re trying to fall asleep, the act of trying to fall asleep can actually keep you awake. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing such as light sketching, reading, or taking a bath for 20 minutes. Then return to your bedroom and try to fall asleep again.
While it is estimated that about 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, sleep deprivation is an issue that is frequently overlooked. A lack of sleep can have major effects on our bodies both physically and mentally. If you find that your sleep patterns are consistently being disrupted after applying these tips, it may be time to contact your doctor to discuss your sleep problems.
Kelly N. is a social media guru by day and an aspiring writer by night. She enjoys spin classes, matcha tea, and the occasional hot yoga class. When she’s not scheduling her next nap, she can be found researching sleep and the many effects that it has on our bodies.