Welcome to Better Sleep (Month)

Better Sleep Month

It’s hard to believe that we are pretty much half way through 2018! I feel like the year just started and here we are at the beginning of May… Where the heck does the time go?? I guess with our hectic schedules we don’t really think about how quickly the time is going by, and before you know it another day, week, and then year has flown by, and we are left thinking ‘how has so much time gone by? Have I done anything meaningful with my time?’

With life being so action-packed, we often try to cut corners to try and effectively use our time. Often times one of the things we tend to neglect is something that we need most – sleep. With May being dubbed ‘Better Sleep Month,’ I figured that it would be appropriate to discuss, well, methods to getting a good night’s sleep, and the possible side effects of neglecting sleep.

I think at this point in our lives we know how sleep affects us. We don’t get enough of it, we are cranky and irritable, we sometimes have trouble staying awake throughout the day, have trouble concentrating, etc. We KNOW we need sleep to function, not just because it’s part of healthy lifestyle, but because it is essential to life itself.

Even though we know it is essential, and want to sleep, sometimes is becomes difficult. The things we encounter daily tend to weigh on our brains late at night and prevent us from relaxing and falling asleep. Things like finances and stress – from work, from our friends, and even from our families – can prevent us from really relaxing when it comes time to unwind. That stress, and, of course, not getting enough sleep, can lead to numerous health risks including cardiovascular and neurological issues.

Adults need approximately 7.5 – 8.5 hours of sleep every night – of deep, REM sleep, not of that ‘I’m just dozing off, not really asleep’ thing that most adults tend to get. Adults should establish a consistent sleep schedule – go to sleep at the same time, or close to the same time every night, yes that means the weekend too. Its okay to go out every once in a while and break the routine, but if we’re being honest your sleep is more important (as that effects your life) than ‘turning up’ and getting ‘lit.’

5 ways to better sleep

You are going to want to take it easy before bed. Take a nice warm shower and grab a book while you cozy up in bed. At all costs avoid your computer, phone, and television as the light from these devices will throw you off – making you think that it’s day time, time to be productive, rather than night time, time to rest and sleep. If you are like me and are one of those people who have a million things on their mind at one time, especially before bed, than I recommend yoga, meditation, or even breathing exercises. It not only calms you body, but it also relaxes your mind, making it easier to fall asleep once you are in bed.

I am sure this goes without saying, but for arguments sake, I will just go ahead and say it: don’t partake in any rigorous activates before bed. This means no working out! I have so many people come to me saying that they can’t sleep at night and are exhausted throughout the day. My first question to them is almost always ‘what were you doing before you got into bed.’ A lot of people respond with ‘working out.’ That right there is your problem. Sure, you want to wear yourself out so that you sleep well throughout the night, but don’t do it right before bed! Of course, you do want to maintain a regular workout routine and a healthy diet as this can contribute to better sleep, but there is a time and place for everything.

Create a sleep environment in which sleeping is ideal. For me that means a dark room, I have dark green, thick curtains (there is no way that any sunlight is getting through those bad boys). I have to have it a little cooler than normal, about 75 degrees, and a thick(ish) blanket that keeps me cool but also keeps me warm if I get cold throughout the night.

As it so vital to your health, take the time to ensure that you are getting enough QUALITY sleep. Work towards better sleep this month and continuing to practice this important habit will lead to a better lifestyle.

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