We all know about the importance of sleep; yet so many of us try to go without it in our busy lives, particularly during the holidays or when we have project deadlines. I’ve seen people become zombies, getting up to go work when it’s actually their day off, or putting the milk in the oven, or falling asleep during a theatre performance they bought tickets for a year in advance.
We all need that precious time to catch up on the rest we need because… we all deserve to live longer. Research says that sleep helps with decreased stress, improved memory, and improved attention. More attention means making fewer mistakes. Who wouldn’t want that?
Now that the holidays are almost over, and some of us are going back to our hectic work schedules, we want to make sure we’re getting enough rest. To sleep better, there are some tips you can follow.
Establish a set sleeping schedule.
Try to go to bed at the same time each night, whether it’s a weekday or weekend. Your body has an internal clock, so a regular schedule will help to keep that pattern. Before bedtime, dim the lights so your body can make melatonin to help you sleep. About 15 watts is recommended. And when you wake up, get your body into the daylight to tell it to wake up.
Establish a comfortable sleeping environment.
The ideal environment should be quiet, dark and cool. If you live in a place where there is noise from a barking dog or passing traffic, consider playing some white noise or wearing earplugs. Keep your mattress and linens clean to avoid allergies from dust mites and other allergy triggers. Your pillow should be at the height for the natural curve of your neck to avoid neck pain and injury. If you have lower back pain, a pillow between your legs, at your knees, can increase your comfort.
Avoid activities that prevent you from sleeping.
For some, exercising before bed keeps them awake because it creates too much extra energy. However, relaxing mind/body exercises can ease you into sleep. If you like to keep on top of the news, it’s too easy to keep yourself turned into media by watching recent events or checking social media posts on friends and work contacts. Learning that a new tax is about to be implemented, however, can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Avoiding these news updates would be one way to prepare yourself to relax before bedtime. Other sources of stress can be avoided by not checking work email or having a major argument with your spouse before bed.
Avoid foods that interfere with sleep.
Alcohol may make you drowsy, but it can interfere with sleep patterns and wake you up in middle of the night. On the other hand, caffeine can wake you up in the morning but having caffeine after noon can keep you awake at night. And be aware: some pain killers and weight loss pills contain caffeine. Instead of coffee, try chamomile tea at night to relax you.
It’s also a good idea to avoid heavy, large meals before bed because of the toll on your digestive system. Drinking too much liquid before bedtime can also be disruptive because you may wake up in the middle of the night.
Have a bedtime sleeping ritual.
Have a routine of relaxing bedtime activities, such as a warm shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. The routine will mentally prepare you for bed. For some, sleeping pills are the best way to get to sleep. The downside of these pills are the side effects. There are some who use Pure Rest, a supplement (not a sleeping pill) which contains melatonin to help you sleep, and is produced naturally by your body.
Some of these tips for a better sleep may seem like common sense, but there are too many who aren’t catching up on sleep because of family commitments or a demanding job. Getting enough sleep helps strengthen your memory, and promotes weight loss.
And most importantly, getting enough sleep helps you to live longer because of the health benefits.
Contact me for more information about living healthy.