Sleeping is good for physical health. It reboots the body: the heart and blood vessels. It supports healthy growth and hormones, allows our immune systems to develop and in turn, aids our ability to function during the day. Sleeping is also essential for mental health. It reboots the brain, too. Sleeping controls emotions and behaviors. Getting a good nights sleep will enhance learning, and ensure that we maintain our decision-making, solving problems, and even coping with change. In other words, getting a good night sleep is essential for a heathy lifestyle.
Now, how have you been sleeping these days? Well or poorly? Is your sleep consistent or is every night different? What are your sleeping patterns like? Do you toss and turn? Once you are “out” do you stay “out” or does anything and everything disturb you? Too tired to answer these questions?
What time is it? Time to go sleep or time to just think about it? Whether it’s 9 p.m., 12 a.m., or 4 a.m. and you are deciding whether or not to go to sleep, make it a routine to lower the lights in your house. Turn down the lamps, dim the overhead track lights, and begin to consider plugging out the Christmas lights. Lowering the amount of light, especially in your bedroom, will set the tone for a better night sleep.
Once those lights have been dimmed, consider limiting other sources of light. Try to stop using your cell phone – that text can wait for the morning. Shut down your computer – you can search the web tomorrow. Turn off your TV – that show’s ending will still be loaded tomorrow. Control the amount of technology that is around you. Simmer the lights and technology down. In other words, “settle down.”
How long ago was your last alcoholic drink? Are you saving that last drop before you close your eyes? Try to finish your “night cap,” (if you are so inclined to have one at all…) early. You may think that drink will put you sound asleep, and maybe it will – but chances are the bulk of your night’s sleep will be restless. In addition, smoke that last cigarette or puff your vape far in advance. Nicotine is a stimulant.
Wherever you sleep, make it comfortable. Try to find the right kind of mattress or pillow (or two) that is just firm enough for you. Make sure your sheets are to your liking. Is it 250 thread count or 500? Flannel or Jersey? Make your bed a haven – a place that you sleep. Don’t spend hours on your bed watching TV or playing on your computer. Form an environment that is exclusively for sleeping. Lounging can be okay, but there is the couch, the chair, or the floor to embrace other activities that may not involve sleeping.
Free your mind
Once you are in bed, take the time to relax. Block your clock. Don’t place it so close that you can check it constantly throughout the night. Ignore what the time reads. Tempted to check your phone to the last possible minute? Keep your phone across the room. Just relax and close your eyes. Try to free your mind.
Doing it right
Throughout the day, drink several glasses of water – it will avoid those “night sweats.” You will not wake up soiled in the middle of the night or in the morning; you will be well hydrated. Eat well and work hard, too. When you have dimmed the lights, restricted technology, limited the number of stimulants, and have successfully freed your mind, you will feel satisfied when laying down in that comfortable space. Sleep will just happen! Chances are…it will be better this night.