Why You're Always Tired
Do you remember back when you were a kid, that part of your life where when you slept you actually felt like you had upon waking? Do you ever wish you could get back to that without drugs or crazy alternative methods? Well, you're in luck, I'm going to teach you how.
So, what you do is you need a tub full of soap, a blanket, and just kidding. While the word "hygiene" sparks connotations of loofahs and soap, the word hygiene really means:
Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease
So you can easily see why the term is sleep hygiene. Lack of proper, deep sleep can lead to a plethora of both mental and physical ailments, such as Chronic Stress Syndrome, irritability, aggression, narcolepsy, headaches, sadness, and depression among others.
So what constitutes good sleep hygiene?
It can be broken down into 3 main categories:
Sounds are one of the biggest causes of lackluster sleep quality. You must remember, from an evolutionary perspective, we're meant to survive. What happens when you have sounds that aren't static (like the hum of a fan or A/C), your conscious must exert energy to process whether or not it's a thread and needs to wake you up.
Now, if it's spending all of this energy focusing on the sounds around you, and must decide what's static background noise, and what's a "threat", then you're using less energy repairing damaged tissue, neurons, and etc. You might also not even reach REM (rapid eye movement, this is the stage where you dream. If you aren't dreaming, you aren't getting quality sleep) sleep in some cases.
Turn off any music or TVs you normally leave on. If possible leave off the fans and A/Cs. Consider sound proofing your bedroom if you leave in a very traffic filled city.
Another equally important part of sleep hygiene is light. Our bodies begin secreting melatonin (a sleep hormone) about 30 minutes after we see light. This is why sitting in front of the television or, more than likely, your computer just before bed is an awful Idea.
Please note that turning the main lights off does not mean it's dark. The goal should be to get it as dark as possible. One of the things many don't consider in this process is the LED. Everything that's plugged into a wall socket now days has some form of LED that's constantly on. Consider unplugging them when going to bed. Not only will you sleep better, you'll save electricity from the passive power they use to stay in standby status.
Unplug anything with a light source. Cover anything that can't be unplugged that also wont catch fire. Draw curtains completely. Don't sleep with the TV on.
We live in a fast paced world. There's a Starbucks on every corner, and 50 different energy drinks at any given convenience store. We're addicted to caffeine as a nation. This will probably be the most difficult step to carry out, but it's by far the most beneficial.
I admit, I was chronically addicted to caffeine. My poison was Monster. I use to drink 2-4 a DAY. While that might sound nuts, keep in mind there are people out there drinking 3 double espresso shot macchiatos daily. Okay, pseudo-self defense over.
I want you to think about this for a moment. Try to remember the last time you laid down in bed and instantly felt at peace, like you were laying on a cloud in heaven ready to drift off to sleep. Can't remember, can you? You may want to take a look at your caffeine consumption, as it's likely the cause.
I know that when I quit slurping down nearly half a gram of caffeine a day my bed was no longer a place of toss and turn frustration, but became a place of peace and tranquility. It was like my bed was out of a tempurpidic, or sleep number commercial. I didn't feel irritable about petty things, I was generally in a positive mood, and all around more myself than I'd been in a very long time. I really hope you'll consider this as a vital problem in our society as it really is and try to kick the habit at least to see how it affects you.
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but there isn't one. When most people quite caffeine cold turkey they get something known as cluster headaches. In my personal experience, if you go from sitting to standing, the blood in your head will feel like molasses made of fire and death for about 10 seconds. It's a really annoying process, but it only takes about 1 week.
Once you make it past ~7 days, the headaches will stop, and your sleep will become deeper and richer as time goes on.
Within a few weeks, your mood will lift, your positivity and creativity will soar. And brain fog? That's gone. In fact, right around the time I started focusing on my sleep hygiene, I stopped wasting my time with TV. My creativity just exploded, I got into internet writing, and 4 months later quit my job. I'm not saying it will happen to you, but who knows, maybe you'll suddenly actualize your dreams instead of just dreaming them once you wipe the mind fog away.
Give it a try, you wont be disappointed.