Tired All the Time? Here’s How to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

T.A.T.T. Those letters may or not form a familiar acronym to you. For the uninformed, it stands for “tired all the time.”

We’ve all heard friends, family and even perfect strangers talk about their tiredness, whether chronic or brought on by recent events. It’s not a great feeling to be exhausted, and hearing someone whine over it is arguably even worse.

However, thanks to some new research out of Colorado College, you might have a more legitimate reason to tell someone to stop complaining about their tiredness.

The new study shows that mindset can influence cognitive states in positive and negative ways. The experiment involved a group of 164 students who were told to wear high-tech new device that could analyze the quality of the sleep they had gotten the previous night. These students were then split in two, and students in the first group were told that their REM sleep the night before had been above average at 28.7. In the second group, students were told they had gotten 16.2 percent REM sleep, which is well below the average.

The result? Students in the assigned sleep-quality of high REM sleep out-performed students in the second group in tests measuring information processing and attention. The mindset of the first group played a role in these positive tests results, an effect researchers dubbed “placebo sleep.”

What does this research say to those who are chronically exhausted? Attitudes makes all the difference. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to reverse that “T.A.T.T.” feeling, though.

Developing better “sleep hygiene” is a holistic effort, so on top of keeping complaints and worries to a minimum, here are five simple tips that could help you feel more rested after sleep:

1. Go to bed at the same time at night and wake up at the same time in the morning

Getting on a sleeping schedule helps keep the ending and beginning of your day consistent. While it may not be possible to do this 365 days a year, try as much as possible if you want to improve your sleep hygiene.

2. Take care of your emotional health

Your complaints about tiredness may be due to larger health issues that haven’t adequately been addressed or dealt with. Anxiety, which is attributed to chronic insomnia, brings on a number of negative effects: stress, low energy, exhaustion and even depression. Tackling the heaviest of these psychological problems with the help of family, friends and professionals could be the first step to combatting tiredness.

3. Eat a balanced diet

In addition to avoiding heavy meals before sleep, eating a balanced diet is vital to good sleep and good health. Select the right veggies, proteins and carbs to fuel your body for the entire day, and avoid long stretches of not eating at all.

4. Avoid caffeine before bedtime

Researchers suggest you should hold off on caffeine after 5 p.m. This well-known tip can be difficult to follow, but the disruptive effects are clearly felt when you wake up. Fortunately, your morning cup of caffeine doesn’t do nearly as much harm as a midday java pick up me up, so your mornings don’t have to change.

5. Pay Attention to Your Sleeping Position

Our bodies could be telling us things in our sleep. A British sleep expert found that the correlation between our sleeping positions and personalities is stronger than initially thought. “Sleep personalities” have distinct and recognizable traits. For example, those who slept in “fetal” position were found to be openhearted and kind, while those who favored the “starfish” pose make friends easily. Lack of sleep could already bring out the worst in us, so make sure that when you do sleep, you’re comfortable and feeling rested from the get-go.

All images: Thinkstock

129 comments

Meris Michaels
Meris Michaels2 years ago

Not mentioned here is the effect of watching screens close to bedtime and the presence of wireless gadgets in the bedroom. Some people sleep with their cell phones beneath their pillows - switched on, others with cordless DECT phones in the room, baby monitors (deadly for babies!), digital clocks etc. Another cause is the presence of switched-on cordless phones and wi-fi in neighboring apartments, and smart meters attached to homes, emitting non ionizing radiaiton which can penetrate walls and have very deleterious effects on sleep quality.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

thanks

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa2 years ago

Noted

Carole R.
Carole R.2 years ago

thanks

Tracy G.
Tracy G.2 years ago

thx!

John B.
John B.2 years ago

it is always nice to have someone point out the obvious when they have nothing better to do with their time.

Lynn C.
Lynn C.2 years ago

thanks

Angela J.
Angela J.2 years ago

Difficult to go to bed at the same time every night.

Diane C.
Past Member 2 years ago

Not really news, but I guess it's always good to be reminded. Dealing with stuff you've let slide seems to help me, but that could just be me.

3 spammers?!? Flagged.

Rika S.
Rika S.2 years ago

Thanks!