Wake Up to Your Need for Sleep

older well-dressed man napping on park bench
The importance of sleep is nothing to snooze on, as you’ll see in our blog below, where you’re also going to learn how to craft a comfy sleep environment. First, though, we suggest you take a moment to help give an American veteran a bright new day by donating your unwanted household items to Pickup Please — just click THIS LINK to schedule your free donation pickup for a day that fits your schedule, then return here to find out how to check to see if you’re suffering from lack of sleep.

If “early to rise and late to bed” best sums up how hectic your life is, then you’ve come to the right blog for help! Commitments to family, friends, work, community and, if you are lucky, yourself mean less time for much-needed sleep.

Experts say lack of shut-eye has become an epidemic; it’s called sleep deprivation, and it comes in two strengths, chronic or acute. A sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime drowsiness, clumsiness, weight loss (or weight gain) and a number of other health and wellbeing issues.

Lack of sleep, on a regular basis, can adversely affect your cognitive functions, leaving you with a “foggy brain,” so if you find yourself craving another cup of coffee to get through your 2:00 p.m. slump, it’s time to wake up to your lack of sleep.

To quickly determine if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you getting 7-9 hours of sleep consistently every night?
    • If it’s less, you are not getting enough sleep, according to experts.
  • Do you find yourself thinking about food, especially sugary food, when you are not actually hungry?
    • It might not be food your body is craving, but sleep.
  • Has the figure on your bathroom scale been ticking upwards?
    • “Sleep eating” and/or craving carbohydrate-loaded foods while awake can cause weight gain.
  • Is it hard to say “no” to unrealistic requests or do you find yourself occasionally saying things you don’t really mean?
    • Sleepiness lowers your impulse control and decision-making capabilities.
  • Do you have a challenge remembering what movie you saw a week ago, and do you forget to do the most routine tasks?
    • Lack of sleep negatively affects both short and long-term memory.
  • Have you found yourself dropping things, like your keys?
    • Your motor control can be impaired if you do not get enough ZZZZ’s.
  • Do you find yourself watching Pixar’s Inside Out over and over, trying to figure out why you feel the way you do?
    • Lack of sleep can cause your emotions to be out of whack and often unpredictable.
  • Got the sniffles or Friday Flu?
    • Lack of sleep reduces your immune system, bringing on the bugs and lowering energy.
  • Are you squinting while reading this blog or peering at stop signs?
    • Not enough sleep will literally make your world look blurry.

Now that we know what can happen if we do not get enough, what about the other side of the pillow – what do 7-to-9 hours of blissful sleep a night get you? Let’s take a look at those benefits:

  • Experts say that getting regular, fitful sleep might mean you will live longer.
  • Studies prove that good sleep improves memory function and sharpens attention spans.
  • As your body rests, it repairs illnesses, soreness, and inflammation. Studies show immune systems are less stressed with sleep and therefore you are healthier.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight is possible as you reduce cravings and increase energy naturally.
  • Sleep rests both your body and your mind. A rested mind will reduce your overall stress level.
  • Giving yourself the gift of sleep helps you maintain positive emotions and decreases the chance of depression.
  • A healthier, happier, well rested you will bring you clarity, strength, and that sense of wellbeing you really crave.

We all agree that more restful, regular sleep is what we seek. It can be easier than you think, but first you may need to change your sleep environment and your routine.

Start by maximizing your bedroom’s sleep functionality. Is your bedroom full of distracting clutter? Take a moment to assess what you truly need nearby, what can be stored out of sight, and what can be donated – Pickup Please will pick up your unwanted lamps, old books, and all the clothes and shoes you care to donate! Plus, you’ll be helping to support the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), so why not take a moment and schedule a pickup today?

bare feet sticking out of end of fluffy bed

In addition to decluttering your bedroom, you’ll also want to:

  • Power down! Sleep experts tell us to put our phones, computers, and TVs away at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Our brains cannot rest until our devices do. Better yet, save your bed for sleep and cuddles — many experts say that a TV in the bedroom trains the brain to stay awake while in bed.
  • Cover up clocks and electronic device lights in your bedroom. Studies show our eyes are trained to look for lights, make sure they are all covered or off.
  • Create an allergy-free, comfortable climate “sleep zone.” This means you may need to invest in new sheets, mattress covers, and comfort pillows. Make sure your temperature is set for comfort before getting into bed. You may need to swap out your current curtains for darker ones to ensure a deep sleep, and just add the old ones to your donation collection!
cup of tea with lemon on earthy table

Once you have your sleep zone all set, you may need to change some habits and alter some old routines. For example, as tempting as it may be, avoid napping in the afternoons. If you are feeling that 2:00pm energy dip, take a brief walk outdoors. If you frequently toss and turn before falling asleep, take a look at your diet for hidden caffeine and carbs, especially two hours before bedtime. And while an alcoholic beverage or two may initially make you sleepy, studies show that alcohol also will wake you during the night. Think sleepy time teas as a ritual before bed.

And lastly, develop a sleep ritual — it works for kids and it will work for you. Your ritual could include a relaxing bath, soothing music, sleep meditation or a few pages of a good paper book. Don’t forget your sleepy time tea, and head to bed at the same time each day of the week. Your body will thank you.

Sleep is your pathway to a better life and an overall sense of well-being, so we hope these tips will help put you to rest. Another way to build a better life is by supporting America’s veterans – and there’s no easier way to do that then by scheduling a donation today with Pickup Please. Your unwanted bedding, small appliances, curtains, home décor, shoes, and clothes will help support of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Sleep tight!