Are You Sleep Deprived?
Are you sleeping less than you need for peak performance? The tip-off is if you’re getting less that the amount you would naturally sleep on vacation after the first few days after an exhausting schedule. Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter! Not only does it slow reaction time (similar to drinking 2 martinis), it also delays wound healing, impairs memory, and affects appetite hormones that increase hunger and lead to weight gain. While sleep needs vary, current research suggests aiming for eight hours each night for the best results. Ten hours will help you recover from intense physical activity.
If you have insomnia, taking a hot bath and going to bed in a cool room (60-68 degrees) makes you sleepier by decreasing body temperature, while heat radiates from your hands & feet. Insomniacs, who tend to have a warmer physical core, also benefit from avoiding spicy food and placing a hot water bottle at their feet to reset their internal body clock.
Other tips for catching ZZZs include avoiding caffeine after mid-afternoon, and bright lights (TV, computers), alcohol and nicotine before bedtime. Be aware that certain drugs may also cause insomnia, such as over-the-counter cold medicines, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications.
So check with your doctor.