Sleep debt is nothing to play around with, but there are some ways to cope with sleep debt to at least help your body function and get back on track. We all know how important sleep is for our health. We’re constantly told that we need to get enough rest to prevent everything from illness, to fatigue, to weight gain, diabetes, and even heart disease. Yet for some of us, sleep just doesn’t come so easily. I understand that better than anyone, trust me! Sleep can be interrupted by stress from the day, a poor diet, or a change in your hormones. The hormone melatonin is the most important hormone in your body when it comes to sleep, yet it’s also one of the easiest to get off track. If you’re finding yourself short on sleep lately, try some of these helpful ways to cope with sleep debt. Don’t turn to prescription pills just yet. Instead, use some of my proven ways to get your shut-eye and feel normal again!
1. Take an Hour Nap
First and foremost, naps are your friend, and one of the best ways to cope with sleep debt. A four hour nap is not what we’re going for here, but an hour nap can do wonders for your body, and will most likely not mess up your sleep that night. If you have to, take a nap in your car, shut your office door on your lunch break, or if you’re at home, feel free to lie down for 30 minutes to an hour, and set your phone alarm so you won’t oversleep. One hour is just enough to rejuvenate you and bring your hormones back to normal. It can also help you prevent fatigue later in the day, reduce your stress, and even regulate your appetite.
2. Get a Bedtime Routine
One thing that I’ve found especially helpful in coping with sleep debt is to establish a really great bedtime routine. This isn’t anything super fancy, but it works for me. I simply stretch for 20 minutes, and lie with my feet propped up against my bed, with the lights off and a candle lit. Then, I check emails on my phone, or just lie there and relax for about 5 minutes. Then, I take a hot bath or shower, eat a light dinner, and go straight to bed after a little reading. I do this every night, and by doing so, my body relates this habit to preparing for bedtime. I highly suggest everyone get a bedtime routine. You’d be surprised how your body can reset itself with this one habit. It’s also a great way to wind down after a stressful day, and it becomes a valued time in your schedule, just like anything else.
3. Take Magnesium
Magnesium is hands down my favorite supplement. I’ve written so much about this one supplement before because it has made a huge difference in my life. Magnesium can help your body relax and rest, and if you’re in sleep debt, your body is under major stress. It can be harder to go to sleep when you’re in a sleep debt, believe it or not, due to such high levels of stress and fatigue. Magnesium is the safest choice, and the most natural option for relieving your sleep debt and relaxing your entire body. I take 2 capsules of magnesium citrate or oxide (most absorbable forms) right before bed, and am asleep in about 20 minutes. You can read more about how much I love magnesium through an article I wrote here on All Women Stalk here: 9 Reasons Why Every Woman Should Consider Taking a Magnesium Supplement.
4. Try a Homeopathic Supplement
Maybe you want another option besides magnesium to help you sleep, or in conjunction with magnesium. One that I really like is Calms Forte, a homeopathic supplement that is amazing! You have no morning hangover, and feel like a new person when you wake up in the morning. Calms Forte is a good option if you have a hard time sleeping due to high stress or tension. It’s also a fantastic, non-addictive supplement to take when the seasons change and your sleep schedule gets altered. I find that if I’m in a sleep debt, it always does the trick, and it’s inexpensive. You can find it online at iHerb.
5. Eat Well
I find it interesting how much sleep and sleep debt both affect our hunger levels to extreme degrees. Not getting enough sleep can cause intense hunger, massive carb cravings, and irregular blood sugar levels. On the other hand, getting enough sleep can lower your appetite, help you crave more wholesome foods, and help you manage your blood sugar better, which in turn lowers your stress. Sleep debt, especially chronic conditions, can have severe repercussions on your hunger levels, so to prevent bingeing on carbs and sugar, which your body will falsely tell you it wants for energy, eat a well balanced meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat healthy snacks that are low in sugar and high in nutrition. Base your meals around vegetables, leafy greens, low sugar fruits, clean sources of protein, nuts and seeds, and gluten-free grains. This is the best way to keep your blood sugar stable and your energy optimal. It will also help you reestablish healthy sleep patterns since your body has the nutrition it needs.
6. Lay off the Caffeine
I hate to break it to you, but caffeine is a major no-no when it comes to coping with sleep debt. I know that coffee pot will look more alluring than ever, but do not revert to coffee to get you through the day. Doing so weakens your adrenal glands, messes up your entire hormonal system, and can even make getting enough rest that night even harder. Instead opt for hot green tea with lemon and stevia. It has just just a touch of caffeine, but will not cause any harmful effects to your adrenal glands. In fact, green tea can help you lose weight, lower stress, and enhance your mood the rest of the day. Also be sure to stay away from energy drinks, bars, and any energy pills. They’ll do you more harm than good, I promise!
7. Take a Reset Day
One really great tip to try if you’re trying to cope with sleep debt is to take a reset day. This means getting up even earlier than normal, which I know sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. I take a reset day anytime my sleep levels are off, and here’s what I do: I get up an hour earlier the next day, proceed through my day as normal, and I make myself go to bed at the right time. Doing this makes me tired enough to be sleepy that night, and prepares my body to get back on schedule. Even a one hour nap doesn’t seem to affect me when I take a reset day. This, along with the tips above, have all really helped me reverse chronic sleep debt over the years, so do give it a try!
Sleep debt is one of the worst things to deal with. It makes your entire life harder, and makes you depressed. Be sure you learn some healthy ways to cope with sleep debt so you can feel your best and get the rest you need. Do you have any tips for coping with sleep debt?