It is no longer cool to be functioning on little to no sleep.
Studies have shown the importance of sleep and it is well accepted by most health professionals.
Yes, this is one area of wellness that most professionals can all agree is vital to sustaining your health (I say most, because there are always going to be people that will disagree for whatever reason).
So I'm sure you've heard this a million times, but let me ask you --- Do you honestly think you are getting enough sleep every night?
The reality is that most Americans KNOW the importance of sleep and that they should be getting more of it, but they just aren't doing it.
Well, it's time to break the sleepless cycle.
And if you're a new mom or breastfeeding and you're thinking "IF ONLY..." - Well, I get it. It can be a real struggle and I'm not here to provide any magical tips to get your baby to sleep through the night, but hopefully, I can offer you some perspective.
WHY SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT
I'm sure you can tell the difference between when you get enough sleep or when you do not. When we lack sleep we are often more irritable, likely to crave sugar and junk food, lack focus and motivation, feel sad or even depressed, become forgetful and work less efficiently. Not only is sleep crucial for our daily functioning, but it has also been shown to be related to many chronic diseases. According to the CDC, "Notably, insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression." As you can see, sleep really is an essential aspect to living a healthy and well life.
Here are additional benefits of getting enough sleep:
Make healthier choices
Think more clearly
Improved grades or work performance
Lessens anxiety and depression
OPTIMAL SLEEPING CONDITIONS & TIMES
- Make sure room is as dark as possible
- Make sure the temperature is not too hot or too cold
- Make sure your pillow and bed are comfortable and use only for sleeping
- Keep your bedroom organized and minimal
- According to Ayurvedic principles, the best hours of sleep are between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am
- The amount of hours needed varies from person to person, but try to aim for between 6-9 hours depending on how you feel
TIPS FOR GETTING MORE SLEEP
- Go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning
- Create a wind down routine an hour before going to bed without any technology and to start to relax your mind and body
- Avoid eating large meals before bed
- Drink warm chamomile tea or warm tumeric milk
- Read a book
- Journal your thoughts or gratitude
- Write down a list of things you are worrying about or that need to get done tomorrow
- Diffuse lavender oil/ put it on your pillow
- Avoid caffeine or reduce after noon
- Avoid alcohol - it can cause interrupted, poor quality sleep
- Get at least 20 minutes of sun light a day - Sunlight can trigger the brain to release specific chemicals and hormones such as melatonin which is essential for quality sleep
- Take an espon salt or aromatherapy bath
- Get a massage, stretch or have sex before bed
- Warm your middle with a hot water bottle or heating pad - this increases your body temperature and prepares it for optimal sleep conditions
- Avoid medications that may interfere with sleep such as stimulants, cold medication or head medication with caffeine
- Listen to a relaxing meditation or calming music
- Get exercise earlier in the day (too close to bed time will energize you and may keep you up, but regular exercise is known to increase sleep quality)
- Avoid daytime napping
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO BUY:
*A SPECIAL NOTE FOR THE EXHAUSTED MOMMIES OF SLEEPLESS KIDS
I'm not going to sugar coat it... it may be years before you get a good solid night of sleep. But just remember, your child will grow up so fast and I assure you, you will miss those sleepless nights cuddling and comforting that sweet little baby. You will miss your toddler needing you and kicking you in your sleep. Someday that child will want nothing to do with you and it will be like pulling teeth to get a hug. So just cherish those exhausting, but precious moments and make sure to find time for yourself in the small moments that you have. Read a book even if it's for 5 minutes. Do a 3 minute meditation. Go to bed earlier. Get a babysitter once and a while. Eat a healthy meal. Although you may not be able to get those precious 8 hours of sleep consistently, there are ways to nourish your mind and body every day in just a few minutes. Please, don't forget to take care of yourself first.
YOU MAY NEED A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL IF....
- you are unable to fall or stay asleep which results in functional impairment throughout the day
- you experience excessive daytime sleepiness combined with sudden muscle weakness
- you experience an unpleasant sensations associated with aches and pains throughout the legs that can make it difficult to fall asleep
- you experience interrupted sleep caused by periodic gasping or snorting noises or momentarily suspension of breathing
If any of these apply to you, you may have a sleep disorder and should consult a healthcare provider.
Now tell me, what are you currently doing to get a good night of sleep and what new tips you are going to start implementing??