By Karen Kwan
There are so many of us who are sleep-deprived and yet going through the motions of our work and lives that there’s an actual term for the phenomenon: presenteeism. “You show up to do what you have to do, but your mind and spirit are not there,” explains sleep expert Dr. Adam Moscovitch. “You’re not as productive as you should be, you have difficulty with your memory, feel irritable and you may even doze off at your desk or behind the wheel of a car,” he says.
For some of us, it’s pain that’s keeping us awake at night. According to the Advil Nighttime Take Action Audit, 84 percent of Canadians that have a poor night’s sleep due to aches and pains say they are less productive and more easily distracted the next day. Common pain keeping us Canadians awake, says Dr. Moscovitch, include muscle and joint pain, headaches and back pain.
Here a some strategies to help you snooze more soundly:
Make your bedroom dark at night. Turn off the lights, pull down your blackout shades and close the bedroom door to create a dark environment in your bedroom. Why? Light will make your body think it’s daytime, which will affect your ability to get a good night’s rest.
Exercise regularly. If you’re tired, how can you be expected to work up a sweat? You might be sluggish at first, but the more you exercise, the easier the workouts will become, and your fitness regime will translate into more sound and longer periods of sweet slumber. Bonus: research has shown that regular exercise will improve how awake you feel in the daytime. Remember, though, if possible, refrain from working out within a couple of hours of bedtime or you may find yourself too revved up to calm down and sleep.
Get out of bed if you’re tossing and turning. “If you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t fall back asleep, don’t stay in bed,” says Dr. Moscovitch. “Get up and go somewhere else,” he says, and do something that relaxes you, whether that’s meditation or just practicing some deep breathing.
Heat things up. If it’s pain in the form or achy muscles and joints that’s disturbing your sleep time, in the evenings, try a hot water bottle to help soothe them.