How are you sleeping? If you’re reading my blog I am guessing adequate sleep may be becoming more difficult. However, if you are not getting at least 6-7 hours of good sleep, you are likely to experience foggy thinking, lower productivity, emotional lows, memory issues and slow recovery from physical activity. In fact, poor sleep actually shows in your face and in your body posture. One important fact that is often forgotten is that your body repairs itself only while you sleep. In short, if the sandman is not showing up at night, he is robbing us of a lot in our lives and bodies, including our youth.
What can you do about it? Well, the easiest and cheapest place to start is sleep hygiene. Here are 11 tips to establish better sleep hygiene:
- Allow enough time for 7-8 hours of sleep. That usually means going to bed earlier. It is not always possible, but try to do your best.
- Make your room very dark and quiet. This is more significant than your think.
- Eat lighter meals at night preferably before 8pm and don’t eat right before bed, the glucose in your blood will provide energy which is Not what you want at 2 am. Also, what you don’t burn will be stored as fat.
- Be consistent with sleep hours. Try to have a consistent time pattern.
- Avoid or minimize alcohol. Yes, it makes you feel tired, but it interrupts normal sleep patterns.
- Don’t consume caffeine after lunchtime. Caffeine stays in your blood at least 6 hours.
- Read instead of watching TV before bed. The mind patterns and light from the screen interfere with sleep induction. This is a biggie for a lot of people.
- Turn off the computer and cell phones an hour before bed if you can. It has the same effect as watching TV with the potential of adding additional stress.
- Keep your room as cool as possible. Cooler temps really help to fall and stay asleep.
- Plan your next day the night before and write down all your “to-do’s” on paper before bedtime. It will empty your mind and help reduce nighttime mind racing.
- Before bed take time to feel some gratitude for what you have. If you’re healthy, if your family is well and healthy, if you had something good happen…….you can always find positive things to feel gratitude about. This kind of positive thinking actually stimulates hormones in your brain that not only helps sleep, but aids in physical recovery and well-being.
Improving sleep hygiene should always be the first step in getting a better night’s rest. If sleep is still elusive, then there are a variety of pharmaceutical or natural sleep aids available however I like sleep hygiene as a first solution because it gives the body what it needs to be naturally vibrant and active. Medications, no matter what they are will have some side effects and address the symptom not the problem. I hope this helps you if your struggling with sleep like so many of us are.
Sweet Dreams – Dianna Marcks