When we were little our parents were forever trying to get to bed on time, because we needed to get our sleep. I hear myself saying the same thing to my son. Those 10-12 hours are so important when we're growing up. But what about now? As adults, sleep is still so very important. So why is it that we take it for granted?
We’ve allowed technology into our bedrooms, a place that should be designed for calm, rest and relaxation. Not just with televisions, but with our phones, ipads, and other electronic devices. It is time to take back the bedroom. Make it a place that invites you to rest. Our lives are hectic and at times we don’t feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Well good news, the work and chores will be there tomorrow and after a good night’s rest you will be even more productive and have a clearer head.
If you're struggling to unwind here are some suggestions to help you reclaim your sleep.
1- Make your bedroom an electronic free zone. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, set it far enough away from you so if you wake in the night you aren’t tempted to pick it up and surf.
2- Evaluate how much sleep you truly need and work your schedule from there. For me, I like to workout in the morning before my house wakes up. So the alarm is set for 5:15. That means if I want my 7 hours of sleep, the goal is to be in bed by 10:15. Set a schedule and work hard to stick to it.
3- Turn off the electronics least an hour or more before you head to bed (*For children, it needs to be 2-3 hours before they head to bed). You need to unwind and screens serve as a stimulus and don’t actually help you unwind. Read a book, do some journal writing or go for a small walk. If you need “noise” in order to go to sleep, consider some soft music or a mediation audio or the humm of a fan.
4- Make your room as dark as possible. Your body can relate to darkness and knows we sleep when it’s dark. That’s why we feel like hibernating in the winter- lack of daylight hours. Also, to turn off unnecessary lights in the house. It will help in the unwinding process.
5- Be mindful what you put in your body after 7:00pm. Having a light snack before bed if you’re hungry is fine, but a 3 course meal, caffeine, sugar or alcohol not so good. It will leave you feeling heavy and restless.
6- Exercise, as always so important. Late afternoon/early evening and from there wind down.
It’s the small things we do that make a difference. Just like making exercise a priority for your overall health, sleep needs to be just as important. Try to make one change with your sleep routine over the next few weeks and see how you do. Be patient with yourself good habits take time to form. A solid foundation for good health is the goal.