Getting enough sleep is essential to living a happy and well-balanced life. Without the necessary 7-9 hours of daily sleep your body cannot perform optimally. Lack of sleep can make you grumpy and irritable and can negatively effect your brain’s ability to function. If we consistently don't get enough sleep it can even lead to irregular heart beat, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes.
On the other hand, getting enough sleep on a regular basis provides many health benefits. Studies show that people with a steady sleep schedule may have increased memory function; it can also increase your lifespan, elevate your mood, decrease your stress level and strengthen your body’s immune system.
So why is it so difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night? Well our fast paced society and the age of technology have our brains and bodies working overtime. Here’s a list of 7 things you can do to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up happier.
- Turn off your smart phone and all electronic devices 1 hour before bed. This can be difficult when you want to stay up to date with the newest TV shows and keep up with work or even have some down time after the kids are in bed. You may even want to consider putting your phone in another room as you sleep. Your mind, your body and your family will thank you for taking the time to wind down instead.
- Take 10 deep belly breaths as your lying in bed ready to fall asleep. How could this possibly help? Well, deep belly breathing can relax your body’s entire system. It also reduces stress, which we can all use after a long day of work or play. You can look online and download guided breath work for sleep.
- Nix the heat. People tend to sleep better when the room is on the cooler side. So turn down that thermostat and push off those covers.
- Avoid the caffeine and opt for the decaffeinated tea. Steering clear of caffeine in the late afternoon is the best option. Try decaf tea instead. Tea is also a great way to relax before bed. Many brands create blends specifically to help you fall asleep. Tea can become a special bedtime routine that the entire family can enjoy.
- Take a nap in the afternoon, if you're a napper. Naps can help us stay alert and focused. If we only take a 10-20 minute nap in the early afternoon it won’t interfere with our falling asleep at night. Try taking a nap at the same time everyday.
- Create a calming atmosphere and keep a well-made bed. Going to bed in a neatly kept bed with a peaceful environment is much more appealing than if the room was in shambles with an unmade bed. Try not to bring work or food to bed. Have your room be a sanctuary for sleep only.
- Hydrate in the morning. Over 60% of the body is made up of water. Without being properly hydrated, alertness can decrease and levels of fatigue can increase. Try keeping a glass of water by your bed at night so that when you wake up in the morning water can be the first part of your morning routine; it will help energize you before you reach for your coffee and your body will be happier.
A good night's sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Better sleep can be as simple as changing a few habits and making good sleep a priority. Try using these tips with your children. Many behavioral problems that teens and kids face these days will be easier to deal with if everyone in the household is sleeping well. These 7 tips will help you kick start great sleeping habits.