How can you stay asleep once you nod off? Here’s what to do if you’re having trouble.
Do you find yourself regularly waking up in the middle of the night? Do you have trouble getting back to sleep once awake? If you can’t sleep through the night, your body or your brain may have some underlying issues. Deep, restful sleep is the cornerstone of complete mind and body wellness, making uninterrupted sleep through the night extremely important.
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of sleep. Here, we’ll talk about staying asleep once you finally nod off, the dangers of constantly waking throughout the night, and what to do if you’re having trouble.
The Breathing Brain
If you consistently can’t sleep through the night due to a sleep-related breathing disorder, your brain could be experiencing excess beta-amyloid protein buildup due to oxygen deficit. This protein buildup leads to plaque accumulation. That’s where the danger of sporadic sleep lies.
According to recent findings, people suffering from sleep-centered breathing disorders like sleep apnea (not breathing) or hypopnea (under-breathing) run high risk for amyloid plaque accumulation. Amyloid plaque buildup has been identified as an early identifier for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows there’s a definitive link between cognitive decline and the inability to sleep through the night.
If you’re currently suffering from a sleep-centered breathing issue, you should seek help at a sleep center or see a sleep specialist. It’s critical to address your issues right now. Don’t put it off.
The Night Crew
In other cases of disrupted sleep, missing out on full sleep cycles could mean that your brain’s glymphatic system — a kind of nocturnal cleanup squad – doesn’t have enough time to clear away the protein that turns into problematic plaque. Without regular maintenance each night by your glymphatic system, you can run the risk of numerous toxins building up. Toxin build-up could lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole host of other mental health issues.
Not being able to sleep through the night will leave you more than just groggy the next day. In fact, your brain health may be in serious jeopardy.
Paging Dr. Sandman
Practically speaking, there are some things you can do to can help you sleep through the night.
First, set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Building good sleep habits is the foundation of getting your best sleep. To encourage a proper sleep cycle, try drinking Holy Basil tea (also known as Ocimum sanctum and Tulsi) before bed to help reduce stress levels and guide you to peaceful, restorative sleep. (Find Tulsi here.)
To get back to sleep once you’ve woken up, try these tips:
- Don’t turn on the lights! (No, not even your phone.)
- Try playing a mental game in your head like “first letter/last letter” or try to recall all the names of the states in alphabetical order or all of the state capitals.
- Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
- Breathe in quietly, but fully, through your nose for a count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale deeply through your mouth for a count of eight.
- Repeat the 4-7-8 breathing technique for four total cycles.
Sleep Through the Night to Recharge and Refresh
Healthy sleep is necessary for your overall health. Doing everything you can to support healthy sleep can lead to a healthier future for your body and your mind.
You have the built-in protective mechanisms to keep your brain refreshed when you wake up each day. Now it’s your job to give those systems all the help they can get.