Sleeping is an aspect of your health that many people over look. Everyone knows to try to get 8-hours of sleep each night. Knowing that and getting that are two separate things. There are some people who try to get that, but toss and turn all night, or wake up in the middle of the night, or wake up before their alarm and don’t get a full 8 hours of sleep. There are a few other people who just don’t get that much sleep for various reasons (students, workaholics, plain crazy people). Getting a full nights rest is important to your health, and here is why:
Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep resets your body. It allows your body, both physically and mentally, to recover from the day before. You put a lot of demand on your body and mind throughout the day. Sleep is a way that your body is able to recover and rejuvenate and get back to a state to where it can function properly again. This isn’t always 8 hours, but for the most part it is. In a perfect world, we all would be able to go to bed when we are tired, and wake up when our body needs to. But sadly, we live in a world where sleep is no longer emphasized. Sure, most people will tell you the try to get 8 hours a night, but how many people actually do that? Plus – when you do sleep, are you sleeping for the full 8 hours or are you tossing and turning.
I have people tell me that they sleep 8 hours every night. But they always wake up at 3a in the morning to go to the bathroom and then has trouble going to be. Just because you go to be 8 hours before our alarm goes off, doesn’t mean you are sleeping 8 hours. If you toss and turn at night, you aren’t getting proper sleep. If you lay awake in bed for more than 20 minutes, you aren’t getting proper sleep. If you aren’t having a dream, you aren’t getting proper sleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you aren’t getting proper sleep. If you don’t sleep for a consecutive 8 hours, you aren’t getting proper sleep.
I can’t tell you enough how important sleep is. Most people don’t realize this. They attempt to get 8 hours, and don’t succeed, so they wake up groggy, throw down and few cups of coffee and you are good to go. You should be able to get up and start your day because you feel refreshed.
How To Sleep Better At Night
There are 2 main factors to think about when thinking how to get better sleep. Things you should start doing, and the things that your should stop doing. Both roles play a factor in your sleep. Let’s start with the things you should STOP doing.
Stop Having Caffeine Late In The Day – How many people do you know that shoots down another cup of coffee at 2:30 pm? Or have a coke with dinner? That caffeine stays with you into the night. I understand the fact that when the afternoon rolls around, you are sleeping at your computer. Instead of reaching for the coffee machine, try taking a walk around your building. This will give you a little pick me up, give you a bit of fresh air, a little exercise, and eliminate the caffeine. Stop drinking caffeine after 1p and see how it affects our sleeping.
Stop Eating Late At Night – Late dinners are effecting your sleep. When you eat late, your body stats metabolizing the food. When your body starts processing food, your body actually heats up. Your heart beats faster to push the blood needed to the right areas. Things are moving and shaking in order to get things digested properly. When you sleep, your body is suppose to be slowing down, not speeding up. Try to stop eating after 7p at night in order to give your body a few hours to digest. This will allow your body to properly slow down when you try to go to sleep.
Stop Watching TV Before Bed – Again, the idea of sleep is to slow down your body. If you stay up late watching TV, your mind isn’t give the chance to wind down. It is too busy trying to ingest the content, and colors, and subjects, and ads and everything else that TV does to your body. Then you try to immediately flip the switch in your brain and sleep? Your brain is wanting more! So you end up tossing and turning. Limit your TV watching all the way up until an hour before you go to bed in order to properly wind your mind down.
Stop Working Out Before Bed – A workout before bed is better than no workout at all, but when you workout, your body gets cranked up. Your heart rate is accelerated for a while, your blood is pumping through your muscles and it takes awhile to wind down. Try to get all your workout in AT LEAST 3-4 hours before bed (just workout in the morning!).
Start Winding Down Before Bed – Reading the above items that you should STOP doing, one common aspect in all of them is the fact that if your body is in a state where it is doing work (trying to metabolize food, or recovering from a workout), it is hard to fall asleep. Get into a routine where you allow your body to wind down. De-stress from the take, practice some deep breathing, read a book, do things that slow your body down.
Start Creating The Perfect Sleeping Environment – Your sleeping environment helps your sleeping. Your sleeping environment is your bedroom. How many of you actually use your bedroom as strictly as a bedroom? I know countless people who have a TV in their bedroom, or a computer, or an iPad. Your bedroom should be your sleeping sanctuary. It should be a relaxing space to where you know you are going to be able to wind down, not catch up on Oprah. Create a dark environment, ensure the temperature is right, get a good mattress and covers, and please – get the TV out of the bedroom!
Start Getting More Sun – Your body is supposed to have a natural sleep and wake cycle. Before we became an electronic society, people actually got up with the sun, and went to sleep when they were tired. Now, we go to bed a specific time to be blasted out of bed by a screaming alarm clock. And to make it even worse, we get into our dark cars, go into our offices with artificial light, then back home without seeing the sun. Get outside and get your body to truly realize that you are awake. Then when you sleep in the dark room (See the environment above!), you can start resetting your natural sleep/wake cycle.
Start Getting Into A Routine – I understand that life gets in the way of doing a lot of things. But one major thing you can do in your life is to get into a routine at night. Start winding down at the same time every night. Turn the lights out at the same time every night. Train yourself to sleep at the same time. Wake up at the same time every day. This will get your body to be able to fall sleep and wake up at the same time, getting the proper amount of sleep every night in order to rejuvenate your body.
With little steps in your life, you can improve your sleeping habits. If you improve your sleeping habits, you will have improved energy throughout the day. And remember, your body is the perfect science experiment. Just because one thing works for one person, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Try a few different things outs till you find the perfect solutions. Try different routines at night. Try different relaxation techniques. Try different blankets. Try anything and everything till you find something that works for you.
To Your Health (and peaceful nights!),