This month, in our Healthy Living Series, we are going to discuss getting enough sleep.
Edited: If you want to grab your copy of the free ebook that has all 12 tips in one place, click the button below.
Sleep is often something we take for granted until we don’t get it.
About two years ago, I decided to go back to work full time. I had it in my mind that I could work the overnight shift at Walmart and still take care of my family during the day.
It sounded good on paper, but it didn’t work out well. I was working 10 pm to 7 am with an hour “lunch” in between. I would come home, get the kids off to school and then go to sleep.
I would sleep for about 5 hours and then get up and pick the kids up from school. It didn’t help that my kids had different school hours which made for less sleep time for me. I would do dinner and chores in the evening and then go back to work.
Anyways, after a few days I was a zombie. All I wanted to do when I was at home (and at work for that matter) was sleep. I could never catch up!
I actually made it 2 months at that job (because I am stubborn) but it was really hard. Sleep was always on my mind and my family suffered.
Why is sleep important?
There are so many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. Here are a few:
- Improves Mood
- Lowers Stress
- Improves Memory
- Helps You Keep A Healthy Weight
- Curbs Inflammation
- Helps You Make Healthier Choices All Day
- Helps You Live Longer
- Lessons Anxiety and Depression
- Improves Grades and Work Performance
- Helps You Think More Clearly
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
Here is an infographic that illustrates what can go wrong in the body when you don’t get enough sleep:
Sleep Deprivation Infographic from https://www.healthcentral.com/article/infographic-the-dangers-of-sleep-deprivation
How much is enough sleep?
It is usually recommended that adults get between 6 to 9 hours of sleep per night. I find that 8 hours is just about right, but you can experiment and see what works for you.
Best conditions for a good nights sleep:
- Dark room
- Temperature that is comfortable (not too hot or cold)
- Have a pillow and mattress that is comfortable
- Only use the bed for sleeping (not watching tv or doing homework)
- Keep your bedroom organized and clean.
- The best sleeping hours are usually between 10 pm and 6 am.
Tips to get enough sleep:
- Have a set sleeping schedule that you stick to each day. 8 hours is best, but if you can only get 7 continuous hours you are doing great!
- Limit fluids close to bed time (to minimize the bathroom needs). As I get older, this has become more of a problem each night.
- Turn off technology an hour before bedtime. This helps your brain relax and shutdown for the night.
- Don’t eat too late. We discuss this in another post, but you want your digestion to slow while you are sleeping so that you can sleep better.
- Read a book to relax your mind. A book will relax you much more than scrolling on your phone before bed.
- Make a to do list for the next day (brain dump so that you aren’t thinking about things all night). This helps organize your thoughts for tomorrow and calm your mind for bed.
- Avoid caffeine close to bed. Caffeine may keep you awake longer than you want, atleast for some people.
- Turn on a fan or some kind of background noise if it helps you sleep. There are even apps for your phone that can play background noise on a timer to help you go to sleep.
- Avoid too much alcohol before bed. I don’t think this one needs explanation.
- Take a relaxing bath before bedtime. Lavender or other bath smells can help calm you as well.
- Listen to relaxing music or sounds. Classical music may do the trick.
- Exercise in the morning so that you can relax in the evenings. Exercise can wake you up, so you don’t want to do that right before bed.
- Avoid naps during the day. Obviously, this will help you be more tired at bed time.
- Don’t have kids (that’s a joke, but only slightly). LOL.
Sleep is a very important part of health. If you are having a hard time sleeping and none of these solutions help, you may need to contact a doctor to explore other reasons for the sleep deprivation.
Like I said in #14, having young children can impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Just know that this stage of life won’t last forever. Try to get as much sleep as you can and give yourself some grace when you have a long night.
Edited: If you want to see the links to the whole series in one place, go here –> Healthy Living Series Page
Do you have any tricks or advice on getting a good night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!