We all know that getting enough sleep is important and that 8 hours of sleep is what we should aim for. But exactly why do we need that much sleep? And what happens if we don’t get that? More importantly, what can you do to get better sleep?
Now, most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, yes. But it’s not just about how much sleep you get, it is just as important to get quality sleep.
Benefits of Sleep
Growth and repair of tissues and bones
Strengthening the immune system
Lack of sleep can also affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep also affects how fast you recover if you do get sick. Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
So, with that said, let’s focus on learning how to actually get quality sleep!
Create a Bedtime Routine
Make a bedtime schedule for yourself when you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Yes, even on the weekends! Keeping a schedule is important because your body will get used to going to sleep at a certain time. It will give you signs that it’s tired so you’ll know to start winding down to go to sleep. You can even use your smartphone for this!
Create a bedtime routine to unwind from your day, such as reading a book, taking a bath, or listening to relaxing music. You can even do all of these at the same time! Look at this as your ME time, something you can do just for yourself after working hard all day. Light some candles, throw in a bath bomb or bath beads, and get comfortable! Another perk of taking a bath is that the drop in body temperature that happens after taking a warm bath also helps with sleep!
Try reading a book or doing yoga instead of watching tv or using your laptop or phone at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime. The blue light found in electronics with screens disturbs your circadian rhythm (your body’s biological clock) and suppresses the release of melatonin (a hormone that influences circadian rhythms). Doing a yoga session in the evening will not only reduce stress but will also calm your mind before bedtime. You don’t have to be a yogi to try yoga at home!
Get exercise! About 20 to 30 minutes each day is a good start. As for when to do it? This is individual — some people have a hard time winding down if they exercise in the evening but you should see what works for you! Experiment with the different kinds of exercise, as well as different times during the day. Maybe a morning jog, maybe an afternoon Pilates class, or an evening treadmill session. Try some free workout apps that you can conveniently use from home!
Cut the Caffeine
Stick to water and other decaffeinated drinks before bedtime. Keep in mind, while green tea has many benefits, it does contain caffeine! As for alcohol, while it may make you drowsy and go to sleep, your quality of sleep will be affected. So, if you’ll be having that glass of Pinot Noir, just make sure to do it earlier in the evening!
Make Your Bed Comfy
Have a comfortable mattress and pillow — whether you like for it to be extra firm or soft, do whatever works for you. You might also want to try different styles of comforters and sheets for warm and cold seasons. Silk or satin sheets and pillowcases are said to be good for your skin, as well as, helping to regulate body temperature.
Listen to binaural beats, sound waves that help create the frequency needed for your brain to create the same brainwave pattern that one would experience during meditation. You can find a ton of these on YouTube or on an app! Binaural beats are said to reduce anxiety, reduce stress, increase relaxation, as well as, benefit mood, performance, and mental health. Keep in mind that binaural beats do not have an effect without headphones since when you listen through stereo headphones, you are introducing sound directly to the ears. 30 minutes or less per day should be enough.
Step 1: Choose a calming focus. Good examples are your breath, a sound (“Om”), a short prayer, a positive word (such as “relax” or “peace”), or a phrase (“breathing in calm, breathing out tension”; “I am relaxed”). If you choose a sound, repeat it aloud or silently as you inhale or exhale.
Step 2: Let go and relax. Don’t worry about how you’re doing. When you notice your mind has wandered, simply take a deep breath or say to yourself “thinking, thinking” and gently return your attention to your chosen focus.
Now that you know how to get a good night of sleep, get to dreaming!
#sleep #tips #meditation #healthy #quality