First and foremost, even one night of poor sleep can make us cranky, volatile, or emotionally sensitive. In fact, research has confirmed that even one night of insufficient sleep can cause us to overreact or lash out in anger and frustration to unpleasant situations.
What Research Shows
Meanwhile, researchers from Tel Aviv University have shown this happens because lack of sleep increases activity in the part of the brain known as the amygdala. As a result of this activity we react intensely to negative situations.
Role of the Prefrontal Cortex
Next, the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in emotional regulation, handles complex tasks such as controlling impulsiveness. Now, poor sleep breaks down communication between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. As a result, poor sleep can cause you to become more impulsive and less thoughtful in your emotional responses.
Getting Enough REM Sleep
By the way, our daily emotionally charged experiences get stored in the brain as memories. Now, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is important for processing these memories and ease the emotional sting of these memories. Therefore, getting enough REM sleep lets your emotional mind return to a less-charged state.
By and large, REM sleep can occur up to five times while you are sleeping. Furthermore, when REM sleep first starts it’s only for a short amount of time. Then, as the night goes on, it gradually gets longer and longer. Consequently, if you don’t get enough sleep, REM sleep doesn’t get time to do its restoring function. And this causes your emotional life to suffer.
More Consequences of Poor Sleep
Now, studies show that lack of sleep increases anxiety and worry about what’s to come. So, if you tend to worry, it’s important to get enough sleep.
Also, researchers have found that lack of sleep lessens our emotional empathy or the ability to understand another person’s feeling, thoughts, and experiences.
In addition, other studies have found that because of their ability to multitask, a woman’s brain expends more energy that a man’s. As a result, women need the sleep more to restore a full and a healthy functional brain. Therefore, when they don’t get enough sleep, first thing in the morning, women experience more anger, hostility and depression. Most of all, these experiences also happen to men. But a woman’s experiences occur sooner than a man’s experiences.
Finally, other studies show that lack of sleep causes people to have more repetitive negative thoughts. Also, they are less able to turn their minds away from ruminating on negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Some Remedies to Get Good Sleep
So, here are some things to do when you are having difficulty sleeping.
- First, get up from your bed, go into another room, sit in a very comfortable chair and read a soothing book under soft lights.
- Another is to massage your feet. In fact, you can get a device that, not only, does it for you, but also warms your feet. Indeed, warm feet may help you fall asleep sooner.
- Next, if troubling thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep, listen to soothing and relaxing music.
- Or, lower the room temperature to somewhere between sixty to seventy- five degrees Fahrenheit. However, don’t make it too cold that you are uncomfortable.
- Yet, another method is to take a warm bath or shower. And, as the body temperature falls, your brain gets the message to fall asleep.
- Also, make sure the bedroom is totally dark. So, check to see the door is closed and windows shaded to block out any outside light. Moreover, keep the bedroom free of blue light emitting devices such as your cell phone, laptops, tablets, TV, and others. And, if you have a clock, cover it up so you can’t see it and its light doesn’t reach your eyes.
- Next, you may want to keep an essential oil diffuser around, so that it can infuse the bedroom with relaxing scents. In fact, relaxing scents, such as those from lavender and damask rose encourage sleeping. Now, nearly twelve studies have reported that aromatherapy is effective in improving sleep quality. So, give it a try, and have it around the next time you are having difficulty falling asleep.
- Also, if falling asleep is a somewhat regular thing, avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, and especially coffee after two in the afternoon. By the way, caffeine is also found in chocolate, sodas, and energy drinks. So read the labels to avoid these caffeinated foods and drinks.
- By the way, you can also take supplements that help you fall asleep. For example, doses of 0.5 to five milligrams of melatonin taken thirty minutes before bed can help you fall asleep.
- Or, instead of trying to fall asleep, try staying awake instead. In fact, studies show that people who tried this method fell asleep faster. However, this method may be hard to do lying in bed. So, if that’s the case, get up and do chores around the house. For example, physical chores like putting away the dishes, cleaning up the house, and others can help you get tired and sleepy.
So, use one or more of the remedies to fall asleep and hopefully get yourself a good night’s rest and wake up in the morning refreshed with a positive attitude.