Sleep… we don’t get enough of it (probably), we want more of it (definitely), how do we do it? The key to getting better sleep is understanding why we need sleep, what does it really do for us other than make us feel rested?
Benefits of good sleep:
1. Heart health – yes, sleep is good for our hearts! It reduces blood pressure and body stress
2. Mental health – sleep helps to relieve anxiety and depression
3. Attention/memory – helps us to pay better attention, and retain more information
4. Skin – sleep is good for your skin! When you are rested on the inside, you look rested on the outside
5. All around energy – with the right amount of sleep, you have more energy, are more productive and enjoy life with a better all around attitude
Sleep deprivation basically negates all the benefits; it is bad for our health, our skin, our memory, our thinking processes, etc…
Ok, so now that we know why sleep is important, how do we get more of it? I think this alludes to a larger issue, of living in a culture that is always “on.” We rarely give ourselves a break, are overworked, over-committed… etc.
Ways to get more sleep:
The first step to getting more sleep is figuring out what to prioritize in our day to day, and what to say no to.
1. Saying no is hard, but we are human, not machine. Saying no is something that I am constantly working on as well. It’s not easy. I want to be involved, active, spend time with people that I care about… it’s not easy to say no. But all it takes is an occasional night of sleep deprivation (due to work, anxiety, whatever it may be) to remind me that, no, I’m not a machine, and I need to take care of myself. Starting with sleep.
2. Taking naps! I am a HUGE fan of the 20-30 minute power nap… I think it truly helps, and find that on a good day (aka time to take a nap) I can take one anytime before 7:30pm and still be in bed by 10:30pm
3. Putting soft light in your bedroom – this could be setting up soft lamps on your dresser, or tall soft lamps in the room corner. Soft lighting is actually also a feng shui principle that helps keep a bedroom chi (energy) calm.
4. Reducing electronics – you heard right, keeping your phones, laptops, etc… away from you when you’re going to bed
5. Relaxing scents – I love lighting candles, and will sometimes light candles in my bedroom an hour or so before sleep so to get a relaxing scent & ambiance flowing
6. Getting up – yes, it’s counter-intuitive, but there are a number of
I hope these tips help you better understand sleep wellness and help you find ways to incorporate better quality sleep in your life 🙂