Sleep: We all need it, we all crave it – but with our busy lives (kids, work, social media, and let’s not forget Netflix!) who has time?
You may hear people say “no rest for the weary” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” but those clichés couldn’t be farther from the truth. Depriving ourselves of sleep not only makes us tired and cranky, but we’re compromising our health. Without the proper amount of sleep (7-9 hours for adults and 9-12 hours for children), we are literally making ourselves sick!
And skimping on sleep contributes to weight gain because when we’re tired, we crave sugar and high calorie carbs and we lose our impulse control.
There’s more: sleep deprivation is linked to an increase in heart disease and diabetes and – if all this doesn’t make you crawl under the covers – it speeds up the aging process as well as impairing our thought processes, memory, concentration and judgment!
Let’s face it: sleeping is as vital as eating healthy and exercising – getting a good night’s rest is the best anti-aging, brain boosting, healthy body treatment we can give ourselves.
To get quality zzzzz’s, we need to practice good habits. Below are some of my favs:
Sayonara to screens! We’ve all heard this before, but we really need to put our iPhones, tablets, and laptops away at bedtime. The light from these screens can interfere with sleep and body rhythms.
Shut it off! You may think watching TV at night is a way of winding down: wrong! TV stimulates the mind. Turn off the TV and read an actual book (or listen to an audio book). All your shows are On Demand, I promise!
Avoid alcohol before bed! While I enjoy a glass of wine (or 2) in the evening to wind down from the day, alcohol interferes with your sleep cycle. So even if it helps us fall asleep… it wakes us up in the middle of the night! Many of us have been there, I’m sure! So have that wine or cocktail earlier in the evening several hours before you go to bed.
Cut back on caffeine! Caffeine affects our sleep patterns for 10-12 hours after drinking it. I know! Try eliminating that after-lunch coffee or just consider cutting back on caffeine all together – it will make a difference!
Nighttime rituals are essential! Establish a bedtime routine, whatever it may be. Rituals slow our minds down, reduce anxiety and get us ready for sleep. And strive for consistency – going to sleep the same time every night is key to developing healthy sleep patterns.
Get your room ready for sleep! A change in our sleep environment makes a huge difference to the quality of our sleep. So keep noises down, the room dark and cool, and your bed comfy and cozy.
OK, are you ready? Start tonight! Put down that iPhone, turn off the TV, and stop browsing social media. Dim the lights, take a few deep breaths, quiet the mind, and… come to bed.
Let me know how you are doing. Would love to hear from you.