That’s a line my husband likes to use when he wants to do something besides getting a good night’s sleep. Of course, he’s one of those who can fall asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. For me, sleep is more of a challenge. I understand how important it is, know what steps need to be taken, and have improved my quality of sleep significantly. However, I don’t always follow through. So I’m in a bit of a ‘practice what you preach’ mode here.
I don’t believe sleeping pills provide much relief, not sustainable anyway. They have way too many risks and side effects. The best course of action is to start with natural strategies, and there are many.
According to the CDC, 35% of adults aren’t getting enough sleep. Everyone has a different requirement, but most adults do best with 7-9 hours per night. Kids definitely need more, with the youngest needing the most. What’s wrong with not getting enough sleep? How about memory loss, disrupted hormones, decreased will power and self-control, insulin resistance, depression, anxiety, poor decision making and reduced reaction time to name a few.
Adequate sleep, on the other hand, helps your brain process, heal and detoxify. Other benefits include weight loss, a smaller waist circumference, high energy level, a healthy heart, improved memory, lower inflammation, better brainpower, and improved immune function. And of course, you look and feel good.
A good night’s sleep starts as soon as you wake up. Getting morning sunlight exposure helps to reset your internal body clock or circadian rhythm. We evolved to rise and set with the sun, but modern conveniences and our 24/7 society have hijacked our natural rhythm and most of us are out of sync.
From there, develop a routine with a consistent bedtime. Take a hot bath. Avoid alcohol. Diffuse Lavender Essential Oil. Try a relaxing meditation. Some great yoga poses for sleep are Standing Forward Bend, Wide-Legged Forward Bend, Seated Forward Bend, or Legs-Up-The-Wall. These are all basically the same pose, just in a different position. Very dark, cool rooms provide the best sleeping environment.
Turn off your computer, smartphone or TV a few hours before your bedtime. This is the hardest for most, and no I’m not good at it either. With work, school and all our commitments and responsibilities, sometimes the night is the only time left to get things done. If you must be on your computer after sunset, install f.lux or any blue light blocking app. They block the blue/white light (think bright sun, blue skies) which slows your melatonin production and makes your body think it is time to wake up. There are also blue light blocking glasses you can buy if your lifestyle requires a big deviation from the natural process. Move your phone away from your bed, preferably to another room. Turn off your wireless internet. Even move alarm clocks away from you if possible.
Hopefully, you can utilize some of these strategies to ensure you sleep well tonight. I commit to shutting down my work by 8:00. It will still be there tomorrow. My blog may be late, but I know you’ll understand.