The following content is created in consultation with Mancini's Sleepworld. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC BAY AREA's editorial staff. To learn more about Mancini's Sleepworld, visit Sleepworld.com.
You’ve been getting sick lately—a lot. And that’s not including your rising sugar levels or spiking blood pressure. And you’ve been putting on the pounds! Meanwhile, you’re finding you’re not as interested in sex (though you wish you were). And, oh, you’ve gotten so moody. By the way, did we mention you’re losing your sex drive? (We figured we’d repeat that, since your memory has also been on the fritz.)
The source of all these problems: You’re not getting enough sleep. But why aren’t you getting enough sleep? Really, we think you have no excuse:
Your excuse: “I. Am. Stressed. Out.”
That’s no excuse: We feel you. We really do. But there are ways to reduce stress. For instance: Are you exercising? Exercise reduces stress hormones and increases endorphins, which helps kill pain and boost your mood. Or maybe you should look into relaxation techniques, like yoga and meditation: They can help slow your mind and better your breathing. Maybe it’s just a matter of taking time to smell the lavender: A South Korean college study found that sniffing the flower helps to reduce insomnia.
Your excuse: "Hello? I live in San Francisco. There’s stuff to do here!"
That’s no excuse: You can have a few hours of late-night fun or feel better all day—your choice. But keep in mind, night-owlism also increases your odds of alcoholism and depression. So if you’re hooked on these late hours, you can wean yourself off them. You can gradually go to bed earlier and earlier (say, in 10 minute increments) until you reach your bedtime goal.
Your excuse: "Netflix, Minecraft, Facebook..."
That’s no excuse: There are ways to rein in your entertainment obsessions. First, keep in mind, binge-watching a TV series makes for a less rewarding experience. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who binged enjoyed the shows less and missed subtle touches, so spread your Stranger Things over a week or two. As for other distractions, consider apps that discipline your YouTube and Facebook habits: StayFocusd, a Chrome browser add-on, allows you to set a limit on times you spend on certain sites (and while you’re at it, you may want to disable YouTube’s recommended video function—that’s a big rabbit-hole portal right there. As for videogames, don’t let Fortnite ruin your night. Log how much time you spend playing such games, then set a timer for an endpoint (sure, you may need to finish a level, we get that.)
Your excuse: “My partner keeps me awake.”
That’s no excuse: There are solutions for most partner sleep incompatibilities—we’ll roll off a few: Snoring? Try earplugs, a white noise machine, a pillow barrier between you. Is your partner’s late-night TV watching keeping you up? Invest in headphones. Does (s)he toss and turn much? If you have a king-size bed, consider exchanging your king-size mattress for two twins on the king frame. All the above? Might you have a spare bedroom?
Your excuse: “But I am getting enough sleep—eight hours! Still, I’m tired and sleepy all day.”
Actually… You may be putting in the hours but not getting quality sleep. You may have sleep apnea—a disorder in which your breathing stops repeatedly during the night (for seconds or as long as minutes). Causes range from obstructions in your throat (the soft tissue back there may create blockage) to disruptions in brain signals that control breathing. Still…
That’s no excuse: Sleep apnea is treatable: weight loss may widen your airways; a dental appliance can keep your jaw in a more breathing-conducive position; a CPAP machine can flow air down your lungs while you sleep. Consider having a sleep study to diagnose whether such treatments can help.
Having a lumpy mattress is another poor excuse for losing sleep. Mancini’s Sleepworld can set you up with the mattress you need for a better night. Visit one of their 31 Northern California locations, or go to Sleepworld.com.