While a clinical sleep assessment is needed to thoroughly address the issue, here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re getting enough sleep, from Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep:
- After waking up in the morning, could you fall back asleep at ten of eleven a.m? If the answer is “yes,” you are likely not getting sufficient sleep quantity and/or quality.
- Can you function optimally without caffeine before noon? If the answer is “no,” then you are most likely self-medicating your state of chronic sleep deprivation.
- If you did not set an alarm clock, would you sleep past that time? (If so, you need more sleep than you are giving yourself.)
- Do you find yourself at the computer screen reading and then rereading (and perhaps rereading again) the same sentence? (This is often the sign of a fatigued, under-slept brain.)
- Do you sometimes forget what color the last few traffic lights were while driving? (Simple distraction is often the cause, but a lack of sleep is very much another culprit).
If you’re not getting enough sleep, what can you do about it?
Here is the single most important tip:
Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. As creatures of habit, people have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Sleeping later on weekends won’t fully make up for a lack of sleep during the week and will make it harder to wake up early on Monday morning. Set an alarm for bedtime. Often we set an alarm for when it’s time to wake up but fail to do so for when it’s time to go to sleep. If there is only one piece of advice you remember from these twelve tips, this should be it.