Rest. Not sleep. Say what?
We spend about one-third of every day of our lives sleeping or should I say trying to sleep. So, if we're going to give that much time to something that our biology requires, why not get the most we can out of it.
You see, sleep is often mocked in our society as a luxury, something that isn't as important as other parts of life, or that we're being counterproductive by wanting a good nights sleep. The truth is that we're after feeling rested rather than the actual sleep.
Ever have a conflict or something bothering you, and you just wanted to go to sleep so you can wake up having forgotten about it? Yet, the next day you wake up unable to shake off the thoughts and concerns about the confliction. This is an attempt to use sleep to help you detox from your confliction so that you can approach the next day feeling better than the day before. In essence, when we're sleeping we're detoxing from worries, foods we eat, stressful situations, physical exertion, stale thoughts, and so on. When we're unable to get quality sleep consistently and we become sleep deprived, it leads to increased food cravings causing us to gain weight, reduced tolerance for stressful situations, poor mood, heightened anxiety levels, and poor decision making.
So, why should I care about getting good sleep?
Good sleep is vital for good health and when you start improving your sleep you'll start experiencing some of these benefits:
Higher productivity in managing your workflow
Willingness to participate in spontaneous activities
Higher energy levels
Clarity in your thought patterns
Improved decision making
Increased patience with others
Improved conflict resolution
Feelings of spaciousness
Sleep isn't something that just happens. We must become intentional about it.
How do I get better sleep?
You can start practicing some of the tips below and rest assured (excuse the pun) that you will feel more rejuvenated and energized than you even knew was possible.
Practice regular sleep rhythms by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. Preferably working toward waking up at time of sunrise.
Get to bed when you start feeling tired, rather than a specific time you have in your mind, the TV show you got used to watching or finishing just one more task.
Create total quiet and darkness in your bedroom.
Remove as much electronic stimulus from your bedroom as possible.
Remove yourself from the bed and away from electronic stimululous if you wake up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep. Perhaps go to a sofa and read a book until you start feeling tired again. You want to condition your body to be sleeping when in bed rather than staying awake.
Avoid caffeine after noon time as it affects your ability to sleep.
Get regular exposure to daylight for at least 20 minutes a day because the sunlight triggers your brain to release melatonin, which is vital for healthy sleep.
Eat no later than two hours before you go to bed because eating a heavy meal before bedtime will impede your body’s natural overnight detoxification process.
Write down your worried thoughts before bedtime so you can free your mind and drop into a deep and restful sleep.
Take a hot bath or shower because raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep.
Once you've created consistent quality sleep for yourself, you'll become efficient at handling day to day life and then you just might start experiencing shorter sleep time on a nightly bases.
What do I do now?
In my health coaching practice, I help my clients implement these tips and more so they can make the most of their sleep and their health.
Click here now to schedule a time to talk with me if you need the support and accountability to help you follow through like never before.
To your health,
PS – Want more? Subscribe to my weekly healthy living email to stay connected and informed.