It is a fact the lack of sleep affects your mental well-being. Sleep deprivation lowers your libido, shortens your attention span, impairs memory and learning, increases body stress and blood pressure and weakens your immune system. I am learning to take relaxation and sleep much more seriously in light of my ongoing heart issues.
A study completed in 2017 found the brain neuron’s firing and the time of its communications slowed down as the body slowed down from lack of sleep. In turn, this affects our judgment and how we look at our world around us. (UCLA – Dr. Itzhak Fried*)
Here are some strategies that you can consider to improve your sleep.
Create a Bed-time Routine
A routine sends your brain cues that is it time to wind down from the day and relax.
- Set a bedtime
- Have comfy pajamas or nightgown
- Brush your teeth
- Have a bath
- Set up an area for relaxing
- Listen to music, read a book, meditate
- Use aromatherapy targeted at relaxation
Have A Supportive Sleep Environment
Use your bed just for sleeping to help reinforce your bedtime routine. It is easier to relax in a sleep environment that includes:
- A comfortable bed
- Tidy surroundings
- Clean bedding
- A cooler room temperature
- The ability to block out noise (earplugs) and light (sleeping mask)
Move Your Body
People who regularly exercise sleep better:
- Try for 3 – 30 minutes times a week
- The late afternoon or early evening is the best time to exercise
- Exercise more than two hours before bedtime
- Try a bedtime snack. Keep it light like cream cheese and crackers, bananas, turkey or a glass of warm milk
- Avoid sugary, spicy or heavy foods
- No caffeinated coffees, teas or alcohol at least four hours before bed
Schedule A Worrying Time In Your Day
Worrying can be an endless cycle. Setting aside specific time allows you to think and be proactive. When you start worrying at night calm yourself by knowing you will address it tomorrow.
- Give yourself time and permission to worry
- Journal the problems
- Brainstorm solutions
- Research issues
Protect Your Sleep
- Set a wake-up time (getting up at the same time every morning establishes a body clock)
- Skip the naps
- Use your bed only for sleeping
- If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes go to your area for relaxing and continue your bedtime preparation activity (listen to music, read a book, meditate)
Consult Your Doctor
Sleeping issues can be a result of health conditions and certain medications. It is important you work with your physicians and do not self-diagnose or self-medicate.
Often we know a common sense approach is needed but for one reason or another, we don’t get moving with a solution. Today, pick one step you can take and slowly start to build more into your daily routine. Wishing you a sweet slumber.
Have you considered your pillows? Check out this article on amazing pillows.
A bath is a perfect evening ritual. Marilyn walks you through the steps to create one.
Learn more about the benefits of aromatherapy from Sue Rich.