Insufficient sleep causes more problems than many people may know. Fatigue after a poor night’s sleep might seem like an inconvenience that can be easily rectified, but the long-term effects of insufficient sleep are significant.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, researchers have found a link between insufficient sleep and an elevated risk for type 2 diabetes. In one such study exploring that potential link, researchers asked healthy adults to sleep just four hours per night for six nights. At the conclusion of that period, participants’ ability to break down glucose had decreased by an average of 40 percent and reached levels that are consistent with those of older adults at risk for diabetes.
Set the right temperature. The NSF notes that research indicates a bedroom temperature of roughly 65 F makes for the best sleep. Human beings’ body temperatures rise and fall throughout the day, reaching their lowest level around 5 a.m. each day before slowly climbing as morning begins. A room that is too warm overnight may interfere with this natural dip, leading to restlessness. If necessary, install a programmable thermostat in the bedroom so the temperature in the room remains steady and in line with your body’s natural temperature fluctuations.
Address allergens. Some people may trace their sleeping difficulties to allergies. Dust and pollen in the bedroom can make for a disruptive night’s sleep. Wash bedding once per week in hot water if dust mites are proving problematic. If pillows cannot be washed, dry them using high heat to kill dust mites. In addition, cover the mattress in a mattress protector that guards against allergens and dust mites. If pollen is finding its way into the bedroom, always keep bedroom windows closed during allergy season.
Use a white noise machine. Noise is another potential contributor to poor sleep. The NSF notes that some people may have their sleep interrupted by noise even if they don’t know it. White noise machines are often used to help infants sleep, but such machines can be just as effective at helping adults. The NSF notes that the constant ambient sound created by white noise machines masks activity both inside and outside the house, helping men and women enjoy more restful sleep.
Draw blinds, shades or curtains. Waking up to sunlight each day might be nice, but that morning sunlight may be interrupting your sleep. Early morning rays from the sun might be triggering your body to wake up before it’s had adequate rest, so make sure blinds, shades and curtains are drawn before going to bed at night so you are not woken up prematurely in the morning.