WHY IS SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?
– We are more able to concentrate and retain information
-Improved motor abilities
-Helps us maintain weight and prevent obesity
-Keeps us from developing problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and mental stress
-Heightened sense of alertness and energy during the day preventing accidents
-Allows the body to heal
If you would like to know more about these benefits of sleep check out this link from Harvard University:
ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS
According to the CDC 1 in 3 Americans are not getting sufficient sleep. Adults are recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep to achieve optimal wellness. So how do we help ourselves sleep better? How can we get into that deep REM sleep that our body and mind need? Here are a few ways that we can encourage healthy sleeping habits.
TIME FOR BED
First we must make sleeping a priority. With all the business of life sleeping can be easy to neglect. For better rest we must make sleep a priority. Set yourself a designated bed time on the weekdays that allows for 7 hours of sleep. We are creatures of habit and developing a routine can be essential to let your body know that it is time to wind down
With some patience our body will naturally adjust and become more tired when it is time to lay down. It can also be helpful to wake up at the same time each day, you will notice that you have more energy upon awakening.
LET YOUR BODY KNOW
Let your body know its time for bed by putting down your phone (and other electronics). Avoiding screen time before bed can be a very helpful way to get some quality shut eye. It is advised to avoid screen time for an hour before bed but even a half hour will be beneficial. This is critical! The blue light from our phones and other technology prevents our brain from producing the hormone melatonin which helps maintain the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
When it is time to close your eyes, make sure your room is dark, cool and clean. If you would like sprinkle a few drops of lavender on your pillow and try using a heat pack while you’re getting ready for bed. The environment you sleep in can really make a difference in the quality of your sleep. Set yourself up for success.
SAVE IT FOR THE MORNING
There are certain activities that experts recommend avoiding before you go to bed. These include:
-Exercise right before bed
-Eating large meals
-Large fluid intake
Try this instead!
-Rather than a hard workout try doing something more relaxing like a restorative yin yoga flow or some light and gentle stretching.
-If you’re feeling hungry before bed eat a small healthy snack. This will also make breakfast much more desirable in the morning
-Make sure you stay plenty hydrated during the day so you aren’t drinking a ton of water before bed. This will give your digestive system time to do its work and help you avoid waking up to use the restroom.
-Save your coffee drinks for the morning! Even drinking them late afternoon can give you jitters while trying to sleep.
-Make sure you’re all caught up on your phone before laying down for bed. Try reading, meditation, journaling or taking deep breaths rather than scrolling.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments or suggestions! You can contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope everyone is staying well and finding peace. You are missed at Amara.
-Elli Wernsman LMT