How much sleep do you really need? As children we were encouraged to get a good night’s rest in order to perform well in our activities the following day. This came with more emphasis during critical test-taking times or game days. Yet another trap adults can fall into is not enough quality sleep. Your body needs to rest in order to recover, rejuvenate and rebuild.
During the day your body is pushed for energy. Your balance needs to be restored and reloaded during a restful period. You can make some small changes to get that sound sleep back. The quality and quantity of your sleep may need to be examined. Do you wake up tired? Are you sleepy mid-afternoon? Do you have a healthy, daily routine? Are you sleeping with lights or television on, or your phone, tablet and devices nearby?
If you are robbing yourself of your sleep recovery time you may be putting yourself at greater risk for depression, decreased creativity/performance, cognitive difficulties, accident/injury, and many other health issues.
- Schedule it. Whether you need four or nine hours, make sure you have a plan to capture the sleep time you need.
- Exercise. Release your stress from the day with a walk, some resistance training, a trip to the gym, or what best suits you and is sustainable.
- Limit foods that keep you awake. A cup of coffee, caffeine, and sugars should be avoided as you near your sleep cycle.
- Prepare your space. Evaluate your bedroom/sleep space. Are there stacks of “stuff” in this space? Is the lighting too bright? Do you have too many or not enough supporting pillows? How about temperature and sound check?
- Practice winding down. Mental stimulation needs to be quieted. Put away anything that glows, buzzes, rings, or stimulates your mind. Enjoy a few minutes stretching, deep breathing, meditating, reading or some other activity that will calm you.
Make sleep a priority. If you experience symptoms that prevent you from sleeping such as circulation, difficulty breathing, prolonged insomnia, etc., consult a medical professional. Have a talk with yourself about being committed to your overall wellness and make sure resting is high on the list. Consider a morning routine as well. One that gets you up and moving, even if you aren’t a morning person. Combined with a restful period, your morning outlook can have a significant impact on your accomplishments and your attitude for the day.