Sleep is important to our well-being. When you sleep, your body is getting replenished. According to Dr. Myron Wentz, even a week of getting two to three hours less than the optimum amount of sleep can seriously undermine mood, alertness, and performance for a typical adult. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your body and mind:
Lack of sleep impairs our judgment, which may increase the risk of serious accidents or injury.
It affects our ability to retain information and to learn, causing us to be less productive and less engaged.
It causes emotional imbalance, stress, and headaches.
It makes you feel hungry and increases appetite, which may lead to weigh gain.
It ages you - When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more stress hormone, which can break down the skin collagen that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
"The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of quality sleep for adults between the age of 18 and 65."
In the long term, inadequate sleep may put you at risk for a weaker immune system, which increases your risk for chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of quality sleep for adults between the age of 18 and 65. While most of us know sleep is important, we may not make it a priority to get enough hours. Here are some tips to help you get some quality sleep:
Exercise daily, but stay away from vigorous exercises an hour before you go to sleep.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Although alcohol may make you sleepy in the beginning, it can disrupt your sleep later at night. Also, pay attention to what medication you take. Some pain relievers and weight loss pills contain caffeine.
Eat 3 hours before bedtime. Sleep is crucial for cellular repair. You don't want to expend your energy with your digestive system working to break down the food while you should be storing energy by resting.
Keep a consistent and regular sleep schedule.
"Avoid using electronics such as TV, cell phone, laptop, and tablet, as the light emanating from the screens of these devices can be activating to the brain."
In addition, creating a bedtime routine in a sleep inducing environment is also important:
Dim the lights at least 15 minutes before you go to sleep. This signals our brains that it is time to prepare for sleep.
Keep the room temperature between 60 - 75°F and well ventilated.
Take a warm bath before going to bed. As your body temperature naturally drops after the bath, it will help you fall asleep.
Avoid using electronics such as TV, cell phone, laptop, and tablet, as the light emanating from the screens of these devices can be activating to the brain.
Freshen up the room with clean air. You may also want to air out your bedroom by opening up the windows 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
Set an atmosphere with a relaxed and calming scent - Use a linen spray such as Azendea’s Sleepy Moon Bed & Pillow Mist in the bedroom and on the pillows to calm your mind.
If you find your mind racing when you lie down, try to quiet your mind with flower essences. Lotus Wei's Quiet Mind Flower Essence Aura Mist and Anointing Oil can help you sleep soundly through the night.
Try Dr. Andrew Well's 4-7-8 breathing exercise to help you relax. It's very simple: Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts; hold your breath for 7 counts; blow air through your mouth for 8. Repeat 4 times.
Wind down. Read a book, practice relaxation exercises, or simply take deep breaths.
Start a worry list. Write it down during the day. Keep a notepad by your bedside, jot down what's on your mind or what's keeping you awake.
1. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School
2. National Sleep Foundation
3. Mayo Clinic
4. Wentz D. and Dr. Wentz M., (2011) The Healthy Home
Christina is one of those fortunate people who have no trouble sleeping, practically passing out snoring within 15 minutes after she goes to bed. She can be reached at email@example.com.