Earlier this week I struggled with calming my mind and falling asleep. So I headed to the couch to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie, which, in the moment, felt like a luxurious way to spend my time. Needless to say, I was tired the next day. I had little if any patience with my children while getting everyone ready for school. By the afternoon, I was done. Unfortunately, I do not have a substitute mother that can be called in when I’m tired or don’t feel like adulting, so I had to make due while my energy tanks were empty. All of this could have been avoided if I just would have tried a little harder to calm my mind and get to bed at a more reasonable time than 1:30am. I know, I should know better. And you should, too. Here are some reminders on why sleep is so important and a few tips to improve your sleep.
Why sleep is important:
- Lack of sleep is detrimental to both your physical and mental health.
- Sleep allows our body to repair itself and gives our brain an opportunity to process the day’s information.
- Poor sleep quality or sleep deprivation is linked to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
- Poor sleep can also cause physical health problems.
Tips for a better night’s sleep:
- Begin your bedtime routine one hour before lights out.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and should be avoided 4-6 hours before bed.
- Avoid afternoon naps.
- Create a calming sleep environment.
- Consistently go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Avoid big meals. Eating close to bed can rev up your metabolism and make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Exercise daily, but not too late. Exercising too closely to bedtime can stimulate your body and impact your sleep.
- Relax late in the evening. I recommend that my clients begin calming down one hour prior to getting in to bed. Dim the lights, avoid stimulating TV shows or reading materials and engage in more calming activities. Showering or taking a bath before bedtime can help calm our bodies.
- Give it time. It takes time to impact your sleep cycle and develop a healthier routine.
- I highly recommend beginning by putting away all devices at least one hour prior to your bedtime.
Sleep is incredibly important for us to function at our best. When we are sleep deprived we have less energy and patience to take care of our loved ones and chip away at our every expanding to do list. Getting a good night’s rest is one strategy that helps us stay healthy both physically and mentally. I encourage you to prioritize your sleep.