It’s general knowledge that getting adequate, quality, restful sleep is good for us. But, let’s break down what that statement actually entails .. I believe that understanding more of the science behind it can help give us a better place to change the habit from, versus trying to fight it with pure, sheer willpower (and then blaming or shaming ourselves if/when we fail).
Did you know that it’s abnormal to wake up and not be able to go back to sleep, on a regular basis? It’s enough of a sign to talk to a sleep medicine doctor.
Without enough hours of restorative sleep, it’s harder to work, learn, create, and communicate to our true potential. There are many studies done on sleep deprivation and mental health, anxiety, depression, and more.
Not to mention, short sleep and other dimensions of poor sleep have been associated with obesity. Increased signals to the brain to eat and decreased signals to the brain that we’ve eaten enough have been observed. Cortisol elevates and increases our cravings for high fat “comfort” foods, and overall, poor sleep affects our appetite and exercise energy.
One of the biggest troubles we see and hear of is the inability to go to sleep at a scheduled (or earlier than usual) time. Here’s a few tips you can implement to help!
- Turn off your computer, cell phone, tablet, (everything) 90 minutes before bed. These wonderful devices of ours mess with our dopamine, hence why it can be difficult to put them down, even when we know we need the sleep.
- Decrease caffeine, alcohol, and meal size in the afternoon and evening. Our bodies do better to restore themselves when they’re not processing these things.
- Set up your bedroom like a cave for sleep. Think: cold, dark, quiet.
- Take a hot bath or shower 90-120 min before bed. Our bodies sleep better when we’re “cold,” and our body temperature drops quickly after a bath or shower.
- Just go to sleep! Sleep hygiene is a great conversation going around right now. Lack of good sleep can not only lower our day-to-day wellbeing, but lower our life expectancy.
For quality and quantity of years of life, this is something to have in your wellbeing toolkit.
We welcome these conversations as life seasons ebb and flow and work to make sure that good, restorative sleep is within the scope of goals.
How would you rate your sleep? Do you use a smartwatch or app that tracks it? Or perhaps a sleep journal to note the quality and duration of your sleep on a given night?
We can help if you need some partnership and accountability in this area.