Important Things # 17 ~ Get a good night’s sleep
Getting through these 30 “Important Things” series… I figured the best time to write this blog about how important it is to get a good night’s sleep was as I was getting ready for bedtime myself. I noticed even today how extra slow I moved and hard it was to get motivated to do my “chores” around the house since I didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night, staying up too late chatting with my bff! haha Getting a good night’s sleep however is far more important than merely for the benefit of not feeling tired and sluggish the next day. I know you’ve all heard by now about how you should be getting your 8 hours of sleep per night. Yeah…. who really gets that!?
Well, I for one try. Then again, it is a little easier for me having children and already having to enforce “bedtime” hours early at 8-8:30pm. I have finally given myself “routine” for the nights that I do not go to bed along with them… of doing dishes, and other tidy up the house chores and then forcing myself to bed by 10-11pm. Like a lot of people, I am by nature a night owl, and would love to cuddle under my covers just a bit longer than the sunlight and my alarm clock allows for me to. Sigh.
I have learned that by making “habits” out of coming up with my own night time “get ready for bed” routine, it has trained my body and mind to become tired earlier in the night and helps me to go to sleep earlier. Which in turn helps me wake up earlier, YaY (and boo equally! haha)! The downside? When I do want to go out once in a while with a friend or to an evening fundraiser that goes until “past my bedtime”… I fight being tired and yawning in public far too early! That is when a good Red Bull helps out! LOL And, with this new habit, I cannot sleep in easily when I do finally get the chance. Yet, even though that may be an annoyance… it is far healthier and you feel far more productive when you are up earlier and “getting things done”. Aside from setting a regular bedtime & wake-up time, make your bedroom “sleep-friendly” by keeping it dark (put in black-out lined curtains if window light is an issue), quiet, and make sure your bed is comfortable and kept slightly cooler at sleeping times. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in a hot room! Ugh!
Eating right – and not too late at night – will also help give your body good sleep. As well as giving your body exercise is proven to help people sleep better. Even if you’re not one to “hit the gym” regularly, you can even do something as simple as a few deep breaths and light body stretching before bed. You will be amazed and how much it relaxes your body, not to mention your mind!
Also, never underestimate the power of a “power nap” to make up for lost sleep. At first it may take a while to get your body to go to sleep quickly for a 30-minute nap, however like all new habits, after a while your body will get the hint and will be able to quickly fall asleep in the middle of the day for you, and wake up alert & ready to keep going! Another quick mid-day drowsiness fix? Get off your tush and get your body moving for a little while. Even if you’re in the office and have to stand up and pace for a few minutes… get your blood flowing, and your body will thank you for it, as will your mind!
There are countless benefits to getting a good night’s sleep:
(Do a quick google search for “Get a good night’s sleep” and you will be surprised by the amount of research and study to support these facts.)
- Sleep keeps your heart healthy!
- Sleep reduces stress!
- Sleep makes you more alert!
- Sleep bolsters your memory!
- Sleep may help you lose weight!
- Naps make you smarter!
- Sleep may reduce your risk for depression!
- Sleep helps the body make repairs!
TIPS FOR GOOD SLEEP
- Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) and nicotine (cigarettes, tobacco products) close to bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol as it can lead to disrupted sleep.
- Exercise regularly, but complete your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Establish a regular relaxing, not alerting, bedtime routine (e.g. taking a bath or relaxing in a hot tub).
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and preferably cool and comfortable.