It’s one of life’s most frustrating feelings: you have a 9am lecture the next morning and like a responsible student you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, but your body just won’t let you drift off. As everyone knows everything just seems worse when you are tired, the last of the milk has been drunk- not an issue to the sensible, well rested you but enter your grumpy, sleep deprived alter ego and things could get messy, what’s more chronic fatigue has even been noted as a common factor in a diminished sex drive. Insomnia can strike for many reasons, from stress to poor bedding choices, but here are some useful tips to help you enter the land of nod.
Televisions and computers are great ways to while away many a procrastination filled afternoon. But recent reports have stated that looking at screens too near to when you are trying to sleep has a direct effect upon a peaceful night. This is because the light the screen emits supresses the release of melatonin, which helps our bodies to sleep. This is especially the case with iPads, because we tend to hold them too close to our eyes. So next time you just have to finish that Sex and the City marathon, switch off an hour or so before you plan to kip and you should find getting to sleep much easier.
Quit the lie-in
Sleeping in until long past what your mother would approve of has long been the staple for most students. However, rather than helping you catch up on sleep as you might think, lie- ins have been found to disrupt your normal sleeping patterns making it harder to sleep at night. Dr Gregory Carter, a sleep expert at the University of Texas Southwestern, says it’s a myth you need to catch up on sleep lost hour for hour; to make up for the sleep ‘debt’ you simply need eight hours of good sleep. His advice to the perennially weary is to go to bed early and rise at your normal time.
Eat that spinach
Iron deficiency is a common problem amongst young women and chronic fatigue is the most common symptom. Dr Cathy Carlson says “by discovering and then correcting that deficiency with diet changes and proper iron supplementation, women can gradually restore iron levels and bring about a resurgence of energy.” Red meat is apparently the easiest way to get more iron into your diet, but for the veggies, other good ways include eating eggs, whole grains and dried fruits.
Take a long, hard look in the fridge
Food has been shown to help the drowsy to drift off. Honey has long been a favourite folk remedy for insomnia. Take it with warm milk, a cup of camomile tea or hot water with lemon; herbal tea is also meant to be very effective. Starchy foods encourage the release of a natural chemical called tryptophan, which is also present in milk, so chowing down on a sandwich before bedtime can help. The best filling to opt for is a mixture of basil and lettuce, both of which are soporific. And it sounds obvious, but try to avoid caffeinated drinks too near to evening, as well as foods with a high protein content such as meat, fish and cheese, all of which supress the body’s production of tryptophan. Equally never go to bed on an empty or over-full stomach. Hunger pangs, indigestion and heartburn will all keep you awake.
And if all else fails, sex is supposed to help the sleep deprived get their 40 winks. The oxytocin released during orgasm promotes a better night’s sleep, according to research, which is something to consider if you’ve been wondering why your guy can be full of life one minute and dead to the world the next – so sex, both fun and good for you. The next time you know you need a good night’s rest try out some of these tips and hopefully you’ll find one that works for you, sweet dreams!
Photo credits: usa.blog.nimbuzz.com, ljayhealth.wordpress.com