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2. Postnasal drip
You’ve probably dealt with postnasal drip at some point. If not, it’s when delightful extra mucus accumulates in the back of your throat. This can happen due to allergies, a cold, or any other health condition that makes your nose runny, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells SELF.
While postnasal drip is generally not serious—it’s just uncomfortable and irritating—it can actually cause you to wake up gasping for air. “Postnasal drip can block your airway because it’s a glob of stuff sitting in there,” Dr. Casciari explains. Lying down flat while you sleep is particularly bad for this since gravity doesn’t work with you to get rid of the phlegm. Clearing your throat when you wake up can help, Dr. Casciari says, along with propping your head up a little while you sleep so the mucus can drain a bit.
How to Get More Sleep
So we’ve covered how to get BETTER sleep, what if you also need to get more of it?
In order to start getting more sleep, sleep must become more of a priority. If you constantly stay up too late because things need to get done, evaluate how your time is spent after work. Seriously, think about it!
- Are you doing the important tasks first? Or are you messing around on the internet and not starting your tasks until late in the evening.
- Are you watching late-night shows long after they’ve become enjoyable, simply because your DVR records them?
- Are you checking your smartphone while in bed, watching Twitch, or using your laptop to watch more shows you don’t really care about on Netflix?
Yes, I understand we have parents who read Nerd Fitness and have to stay awake and function on minimal sleep (I commend you, and wish you luck!).
However, for many of us, less sleep is often a result of disorganized priorities and poor use of our time.
Here are the best practical tips for giving you the greatest chance at getting into bed earlier:
- Don’t drink caffeine after lunch if possible. Caffeine can have an effect up to 6 hours after consumption. We love caffeine for many reasons (in moderation); however, you want to make sure it’s not consumed too late or your body will revolt.
- Turn off the electronics sooner. I have to enforce a “laptops closed by 8PM” or a “TV off after 10PM” rule on many nights or I never get to bed. I get lost in Internetland far too easily. Putting in actual barriers really helps. If you find yourself checking Facebook and Twitter and other sites incessantly, BLOCK YOURSELF from those sites after a certain time.
- Stop watching crap TV shows! Just because it exists doesn’t mean you need to watch it. Pick a FEW shows you watch on Netflix, but be wary of the “auto-play” next episode! Netflix is counting on you to be lazy to watch another episode accidentally instead of getting sleep.
- Shift things by 15 minutes every week. If you want to get to bed sooner, don’t just try to get to bed an hour earlier than normal. You’ll probably lie in bed for that whole hour wondering why you can’t fall asleep, stressing yourself out and making things worse (remember our lesson on circadian rhythm). I shifted my pattern by waking up 15 minutes earlier and getting to bed 15 minutes sooner. Then I repeated that process over a series of weeks. Eventually, you can shift your bedtime by an hour or two, but do it gradually!
- Always consult your doctor first before trying alternative medicine. Foot pain might be caused by other serious conditions, such as a bone fracture.
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8. Address Pain Points
Are you reluctant to roll out of bed because you’re feeling achy and sore most mornings? If you’re prone to neck, back, hip, or other chronic pains, merely getting up out of bed may feel like a chore in itself. Beyond talking to your doctor, investing in the best mattress for your particular needs is an easy way to boost your quality of sleep, and better sleep leaves you feeling more rested in the mornings.
If you have recurring neck pains, the first place to start is your pillow. Is it too lofty, soft, or firm? Memory foam pillows are often great for reducing neck pain because they mold to your head and alleviate pressure. Just be sure to find one that’s compatible with your body; one that’s too tall or too low may cause your neck to crane upward or droop downward.
If you have hip or shoulder pain, it may stem from sleeping on a mattress that’s too firm for your body— this is especially true when it comes to side sleepers. If your bed is too firm, it can cause pressure to build up under your joints, resulting in recurring pains. Switching to a softer, more pressure-relieving mattress, is an easy way to eliminate joint pains like so.
If you need the best mattress for back pain, look for a bed with zoned, or SMT, support. These technologies are designed to promote healthy spinal alignment while still contouring and molding to your body to eliminate pain. Brands that include these technologies in their mattresses often display that information right on the website, so it should be easy to filter through and determine if a bed is built for pain relief.
5. Panic attacks
A panic attack is a sudden episode of extreme fear that causes intense physical reactions seemingly out of nowhere, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a really awful situation that can present differently for different people, but in general, having a panic attack might cause a sense of impending doom, a rapidly pounding heart, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chills, hot flashes, nausea, stomach cramping, chest pain, a headache, dizziness, and feeling detached from reality. You might worry you’re having a heart attack or even dying.
What Is Second Sleep? (Waking up in the Middle of the Night)
Biphasic Sleep is sleeping in two distinct periods.
We’re gonna go back in the day again: during winter months, nighttime could last 12-14 hours.
With our bodies’ production of melatonin (the “sleepy time” hormone) kicking into high gear when that sun drops, people had nothing else to do (no TV, PS4, or iPads) and would fall asleep early. Then they would wake up for an hour or two in the middle of the night to read, pray, or think, and then fall back asleep for another 4-5 hours before waking up for the day.
If you’ve ever gone to bed at a normal hour, and then woke up in the middle of the night without being able to fall back asleep for an hour or so, you know what I’m talking about.
Here’s the thing: this is actually quite natural!
Rather than freaking the heck out and lying in bed wondering why you can’t fall asleep…consider it something that is more common than our current sleep schedule. Don’t be afraid to turn on the light (red light!) and read a book or use the time for meditation until you can fall back asleep.
This one ‘mental shift’ alone can keep your stress levels down and let you get back to sleep faster and provide you with BETTER sleep.
Back of the Neck
The second pressure point is located at the back of the neck, at the base of the skull. It brings similar relief to that of the temple pressure points but it’s easier to activate using the thumbs instead of the fingertips.
Place your thumbs either side of your spine at the base of your skull, wrapping the rest of your fingers over your head. Massage these points in a circular motion five times, for three to five seconds.
Up and At ‘Em
Waking up easier may seem like a daunting task, but it’s doable. With conscious effort, brain tricks, and healthy living, you may find yourself bounding out of bed in the morning rather than smashing your snooze alarm. Waking up easier will give you a sense of pride and more time to accomplish things you want to accomplish — whatever they may be.
Rest well, and wake well. You’ll be happy you did.