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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

Sleeping Too Much but Still Exhausted? Why You Can’t Sleep Well At Night

Sleeping Too Much but Still Exhausted? Why You Can’t Sleep Well At Night

Can’t get yourself out of the ‘laze zone’? Simple, your aunt would say – you need more sleep. Well, what if you’ve been sleeping more than usual, and still can’t shake off that heavy sense of fatigue?

You’re not alone.

Scientific research amply showcases that fatigue is rooted in many core factors, and sleep deprivation is merely one of them. Fatigue, whatever its cause might be for you, will take your life for a toss.

National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) estimates that 7% of road accidents are caused because of fatigue.[1] Also, 1 in 5 Americans are affected by fatigue, the financial impact (lower workplace productivity) of which is estimated at $100 billion annually.

On a personal level, fatigue makes you cranky, demotivated and unproductive. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to improve the real quality of your sleep, keep fatigue and tiredness at bay, and get more done, every day.

Are you sleeping for the right duration?

The general belief that adults need 8 hours of sleep to maintain healthy lifestyles is, well, a bit of an oversimplification. 8 hours – that’s what works for most people. It’s reasonably likely that it won’t work for you.

During sleep, the average human goes through multiple sleep cycles, of primarily two kinds of sleep – non-REM (shallow sleep) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) or deep sleep. It’s better to wake up between two sleep cycles rather than in the middle of a cycle. The duration of a sleep cycle for a human varies between 90 and 110 minutes.

It’s easy to understand why 8 hours could be lower or higher than your ideal sleeping duration. Use a sleep tracker application to measure your ideal sleep duration. Or, keep on adjusting your sleep durations by 15 minutes (continue with a duration for a week) until you find your sweet sleep duration.

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Heard the phrase ‘body clock’? It’s closely tied to your sleep cycles and how you can tune your body to wake between REM sleep cycles. More on this, and many more methods for improving sleep quality, in the next sections.

How to tune your body’s internal clock

1. Follow sleep-discipline

Sleep researchers agree – sleeping and waking at the same time, even during weekends, helps set a sort of internal clock in your body, scientifically known as circadian rhythm. This rhythm affects your body, your brain, and your hormones, regulating when you feel like sleeping or waking up.

When you regulate the circadian rhythm, your body becomes naturally tuned to the idea of expecting sleep at a certain hour, and to wake up fresh and eager at a specific hour in the morning.

Try to follow this clock as regularly as possible because it takes time for it to take control of your sleep routine.

Natural light has an important role to play in setting the internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. If you can ask your partner to part the curtains, so that daylight seeps into your room before you awake, nothing like it.

Also, make it a point to take sun-breaks during the day (at least twice) if you work mostly within the confined of a closed office space.

2. Reduce exposure to blue light after evenings

Exposure to a lot of light can have negative effects on your ability to sleep well. Light impacts the body’s circadian rhythm, makes the brain believe that it’s daylight, and regulates body hormones such that the amount of melatonin is reduced, which in turn reduces the body’s inclination to sleep.

Blue light is the worst offender, and sadly, that’s what comes out of all your electronic devices.

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Because of the modern lifestyle, it might not be entirely practical for you to let go of electronic devices after evening. Try these options:

  • Use an app such as f.lux, which blocks out blue light from electronic device screens
  • Use spectacles with lenses that block out blue light
  • Reduce the brightness of your laptop and television screens
  • Try out screen protectors to filter out the harsh light, if you just can’t keep devices out of your pre-sleep routine

3. Avoid consuming chemicals that impede sleep

Nicotine, caffeine, alcohol – all these are known defaulters, as far as your sleep quality is concerned.

Caffeine, for instance, is a stimulant that is almost certain to keep you awake. It’s not only in coffee; caffeine is present in tea, colas, chocolates, and even some pain reliever medicines. Smokers should refrain from consuming tobacco products post evening.

People believe that alcohol helps them relax and fall asleep quicker than otherwise. This may be true, but the implications are bad for sleep quality. Alcohol makes you wake up more often during the night.

Limit your alcohol consumption to less than two drinks, if you are a regular drinker. Or, better still, don’t drink at all!

4. Nurture a healthy pre-sleep regimen

The transition from your wakeful hours to sleep hours can massively improve sleep quality and help you wake up fresh and alert. Try these options:

  • Engage yourself with a good book
  • Stay away from your electronic gadgets for at least one hour prior to sleep
  • Try out relaxation exercises to help your brain stop overthinking on personal problems
  • If you’re troubled by thoughts, write them down and put the notes away
  • Take a bath because sudden change in body temperature induces drowsiness
  • Instead of coffee, drink a cup or two of warm herbal tea

5. Make your bedroom’s environment conducive for sleep

Improper room ambience can not only delay the onset of sleep, but also cause you to wake often. On the contrary, salubrious room environment promotes sound sleep.

Here are some tips:

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  • Maintain a dark, quiet and cool environment
  • Use high quality curtains that block out outside light
  • Use a white noise appliance to shut off your brain from paying attention to outside noises
  • Use an eye mask if you’re unable to ensure complete darkness (because of your partner’s preferences, for instance)
  • Keep the room well ventilated, and the temperature regulated between 60 and 75°F
  • Get yourself a comfortable mattress, and change the bed linen often
  • Keep the wall-clock’s face away from yourself, and replace it with a quieter clock if the tick-tock is too loud

6. Use power naps judiciously, if at all

The idea of short day-time naps works well for many individuals. However, if you’ve been waking up groggy in spite of sleeping adequately, chances are that your regular power naps are to blame.

In a research study, participants who took power naps felt sleepy throughout the day, after taking their daytime naps.

7. Understanding your meds and their impact on sleep

The meds you take could have a major impact on how well you sleep and how well you wake up. Here are a couple of important pointers to keep in mind:

Avoid sleeping pills. Your sleep issues don’t warrant the use of sleeping pills. These medicines are known to interfere with your deep sleep (REM) and create several long-term health problems. A 2012 study published in BMJ Open goes as far as suggesting that people taking sleeping pills are at 4 times likelier to die as compared to those who don’t take these pills![2]

Know when to take your medicines. Some medicines tend to make you feel drowsy. Well, drowsiness isn’t the equivalent of sleepy.

So, refrain from deciding based on your opinions. Instead, consult with your doctor, as to when you should take specific medicines, if you are also facing sleep issues. Even if you are taking beauty-related medicines or weight loss medicines.

Your dietary habits have a strong role to play in deciding how well you sleep and how fresh you are on waking. Here are some dependable food practices:

Never skip your breakfast. Without fuel, your body will be lethargic, and you’ll just carry it through your sleep and to the next day. Also, skipping breakfast invariably causes overeating during dinners, which gives your body a tough time trying to find rejuvenating sleep.

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Eat judiciously after evenings. Research shows that people who eat reasonably fulfilling dinners after 8.30 pm have trouble digesting the food. Their body keeps on working to digest the food even while they’re asleep, which takes the sleep quality for a toss. Try as hard as possible to eat light and early dinners.

Eat melatonin-rich food. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness in humans. Your lifestyle and diet choices could help you build up melatonin, which in turn induces sleep. Tart cherry juice is a time tested, science backed, and proven effective drink to consume a couple of hours prior to sleeping.

The bottom line

Sleeping too much is not enough. Sleeping adequately and waking up with a feeling of enthusiasm and freshness is more important.

The quality of your life depends on how you feel throughout the day, and that’s where you need to realize your responsibility of taking your sleep seriously.

So if you find yourself sleeping too much but still feeling exhausted, it’s time to work on your daily habits and tune your internal body clock.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Robin Williams

Business Professional, Writer and Blogger

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Last Updated on March 10, 2021

10 Green Tea Benefits and the Best Way to Drink It

10 Green Tea Benefits and the Best Way to Drink It

Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can put in your body. It can help you focus, fight aging, and even give you an energy boost! You’ve probably heard a lot about green tea benefits and how it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that are great for your body and mind.

In this article, you will learn about the health benefits of green tea and how you can drink it to enjoy it best (for its taste and benefits).

What Is Green Tea Good for?

Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. Originating in China but widely used throughout Asia, this beverage has a multitude of uses, from lowering blood pressure to preventing cancer.

The reason that green tea has more health benefits attached to it than black tea is due to the processing. Black tea is processed in a way that allows for oxidation (the same process that makes an apple go from white to brown), whereas green tea’s processing avoids the oxidation process[1]. As a result, green tea retains the maximum amount of antioxidants and poly-phenols, the substances that give green tea its many benefits.

Furthermore, green tea has significantly less caffeine black tea, meaning that it leads to less of a “slump” after drinking it. It will offer you energy without the intense caffeine kick that black tea and coffee often lead to.

Let’s dive more into the various benefits of drinking green tea.

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10 Green Tea Benefits for Your Body and Mind

While a great deal is known about the benefits of green tea, more research is still needed in order to expand our knowledge on just how green tea benefits us. Here are some green tea benefits currently supported by research.

1. Weight Loss

Green tea is known to decrease inflammation in the body, aiding in the weight loss process. More research is needed, but one study found that “the combination of GTE and exercise also produced greater changes in anti‐inflammatory (increases in adiponectin) and metabolic (decreases in hs‐CRP) markers than exercise alone”[2]

If you’re looking to lose weight, exercise is the first step, but adding in green tea can help speed up the process, even if only slightly. Check out this article if you want to find out more about this: Is Drinking Green Tea An Effective Way For Weight Loss?

2. Increased Satiety

One study on how green tea affects insulin levels found that, while green tea had no effect on insulin levels after a meal, it did increase feelings of satiety, which means that study participants were less likely to continue eating[3]. This can have positive effects on health by helping you consume less calories.

3. Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Scientists believe that green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.

One study found that, in general, coffee and certain types of teas (including green tea) reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease[4].

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4. Reduce the Risk of Esophageal Cancer

One of the most impressive green tea benefits is that it is thought to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.

In one study, researchers found that the high concentrations of tea polyphenols “have shown inhibitory effects against the development, progress, and growth of carcinogen‐induced tumors in animal models at different organ sites, including the esophagus and lung”[5]. While this kind of research needs to be replicated in more studies, it does suggest that green tea can slow the growth of some types of cancers.

5. Reduce Cholesterol

One literature review looked at 31 trials involving studies on green tea and cholesterol and found that, in general, “green tea intake significantly lowered the total cholesterol”[6]. It specifically seems to target LDL as opposed to HDL, which an important distinction to keep in mind if you’re trying to target a certain type of cholesterol.

6. Delay Effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Green tea is thought to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. One research review discovered that “results seem to support the hypothesis that green tea intake might reduce the risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, or cognitive impairment”[7]. However, many more well-designed studies are needed to provide decisive evidence for this.

7. Slow Tooth Decay

The bioactive compounds in tea, like polyphenols-flavonoids-catechins, have antibacterial properties that inhibit not only bacteria but acid production[8]. Research suggests that this is the reason green tea has been shown to prevent cavities and tooth decay. This doesn’t mean you should stop brushing your teeth, but it does mean that green tea can really help when it comes to oral hygiene!

8. Lower Blood Pressure

Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. One literature review found that several studies concluded that green tea significantly reduces both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure[9].

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9. Depression

While several studies have shown that a higher consumption of green tea leads to lower levels of depression in elderly individuals, more human trials are needed to determine the way green tea influences depressive symptoms. In one study on mice, green tea polyphenols were shown to have antidepressant-like effects, suggesting that the same could be true in humans[10].

10. Antiviral Properties

Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents that make them effective for treating a variety of infectious diseases[11]. While they may not prevent you from getting a viral infection, they may help reduce their severity, which is a great green tea benefit.

How Much Green Tea Should You Drink?

These are some of the many benefits of green tea, but the reality is one cup of tea a day will not give you all the abundant gains. The jury is out on how many cups are necessary; some say as little as two cups a day while others insist that it’s five cups of green tea for the full benefits. If you are thinking of going down this route, you may want to consider taking a green tea supplement instead.

Potential Risks of Drinking Green Tea

There is caffeine in green tea. If you are sensitive to caffeine, then one cup a day should be your limit. Here’s a way to help you reduce a bit of caffeine in it:

How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It

Green tea also contains tannins, which can decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, then green tea may not be ideal for you.

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How to Drink Green Tea

The best temperature to brew green tea at is about 185 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, simply let boiling water cool for about two minutes to achieve this temperature. Add the sachet of tea and let it steep for three minutes. You can then remove the sachet and enjoy your tea!

You can also try mixing green tea with other healthy ingredients, such as ginger, a healthy and tasty beverage option.

You can also try matcha, a specific type of green tea that has a thicker texture.

Final Thoughts

Green tea is an ideal beverage for those looking for its delicious flavor, as well as its many health benefits. It’s important to remember that it does contain some caffeine, so it’s best to avoid drinking it about 6 hours before bed. Whether you want to lower your cholesterol, reduce symptoms of depression, or slow tooth decay, green tea can help, so start brewing a cup today!

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Featured photo credit: Matcha & CO via unsplash.com

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