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Can’t Sleep? Perhaps You’re Overtired

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

If you’re one who lies awake at night dreading the hours that roll by as you fruitlessly try to get at least a minimal amount of shut-eye, it could be that you’re just plain too sleepy to sleep. If that doesn’t make sense, then The Guardian explains it: Like children who get so wound up they can’t shut down for bedtime, adults can get wound up too — and end up sleep-deprived.

Some of the signs that you’re overtired include: your mind still racing as you lie there; difficulty concentrating when the new day begins; a propensity for catching whatever little sickness bug is going around; feeling irritable; and craving sugary snacks throughout the day.

There’s no denying that the more connected we become as a society, the more sleepless we seem to be —and with good reason, as this is an exciting time to be alive. There are just so many ways to connect and stay connected that it seems like sleep is the last thing we want to do even though we also want to sleep. If you find yourself on a merry-go-around of sleep deprivation, it may be time to learn how to get disconnected each day, so you can get the best sleep possible.

From simply turning off all electronics, including WiFi connections, a minimum of one hour before bedtime to taking time during the day to get a full 20 minutes or so of bright sunshine, to preparing your room so it’s conducive to sleep, there are numerous steps you can take to getting the sandman to come when you want him to. Beyond that, there are five common enemies of sleep you also need to address. Those are:

  1. Alcohol and caffeine — Cutting back or eliminating these two sleep-deprivation contributors will go a long way toward more shuteye.
  2. Artificial lighting — Light at night, even in the form of a night light, can interfere with sleep.
  3. Loneliness, anxiety and depression — If you have these problems, professional counseling may help.
  4. Long work hours — Try to find a way to limit work hours and to wind down when you’re done.
  5. Overcommitment — Think twice for committing to something you know is going to take another chunk of time from your day, even if it means turning down an invitation to a social or entertainment event.

And finally, if you are sleep-deprived I’ve got a hunch nobody needs to tell you that. What you do need is some reassurance that it’s not only OK, but a necessity to make sleep a priority. In other words, this is an instance where you NEED to lie down on the job, so to speak. The cost of sleep deprivation is huge, and you pay the price with your health, feelings of well-being and your ability — or inability — to function throughout the day.

For more hints and information on sleep deprivation and how to deal with it, please click on any of the links I’ve provided here, including this one, which talks about the cost of sleep deprivation.