Six Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
If your daily life is busier than ever, it may be tempting to trade sleep for getting more done.
But it’s important to consider the hidden costs of poor sleep to your overall health and quality of life. Proper sleep not only helps with a better quality of life, but also has many other benefits. Restful sleep:
- Improves productivity, physical performance, attention, creativity, problem solving, and decision making
- Enhances the immune system
- And promotes physical health including hormone function, blood sugar regulation, and keeping a healthy weight
Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, increases your risk of developing conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It can cause irritability and increased stress.
Chronic insomnia, which is difficulty falling or staying asleep, may increase the risk of developing a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression.
Do I have your attention?
The good news is that by following a few healthy sleep practices, you can prevent health problems and have optimal, high-quality sleep.
Consider the following tips to get a better night’s sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and rise at the same time each day, even if it’s not a work day.
- Develop a sleep ritual, a nightly routine. Try a hot shower to calm your mind and body, or do some light stretching, deep breathing, or meditation to help your body and your mind relax.
- Avoid electronic devices starting 30 minutes before bedtime. Finding out any news—good, bad, or indifferent—can keep your mind wandering.
- Exercise early. If you exercise later in the day, make sure it is at least two to three hours before bedtime. You want your body to have time to relax well before going to sleep.
- Get outside during the day. Make sure you get outside for at least 30 minutes of natural sunlight each day.
- Limit food and drinks late at night. Large meals can cause indigestion that gets in the way of sleep. Too many fluids can cause more trips to the restroom. And skip the caffeine late in the day. The caffeine in coffee can take up to eight hours to wear off.
If you continue to struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. There are many methods to finding healthy sleep patterns.
Learning relaxation therapy and meditation techniques, for example, can help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help a person to recognize thoughts that may disturb sleep. It can also help introduce positive thoughts and behaviors that help with relaxation.
Remember, both sleep disorders and mental health issues are treatable. Here’s to a good night’s sleep!