Sleep is soooo important!
Sleep is one of the most important activities for maintaining good health. As I always say, “Your body heals itself best when you are at rest.” Think of your body like a factory. During open hours it is working hard to go go go. After hours is really the time to replenish each department with vitamins and nutrients, heal any wounds or kill infections, send toxins to be broken down, and so much more. The body’s sleep shift works hard to keep you maintained.
Lack of sleep can affect the body in many different ways. Lack of sleep ages the skin quickly. The skin’s collagen production slows. Environmental pollution causes damage to the skin. With lack of sleep the skin is unable to repair any damage which can progress into cancer. Lack of sleep causes water retention which does not allow the skin to have the desired suppleness to it. Sleep is a very important key to anti-aging. Read my article on 9 ways YOU can control aging skin.
Physically lack of sleep can cause brain damage, heart damage, weight gain, eye damage, increase risk of high blood pressure, weaken immunity, increase risk for diabeties, poor balance and can lower sex drive.
Mentally and emotionally people with lack of sleep tend to function at a slower pace, are less productive, highly irritable or easily get angry, unable to rationalize, unable to problem solve, easily emotional, and forgetful. Lack of sleep can exacerbate depression and anxiety and so much more. Read my article “Cutting Anchors”.
Sleep helps all of the health complications listed above. These are huge reasons to make sleep a high priority. Whatever the reason for lack of sleep may be, here are some ways to get your desired sleep.
No Screens- I cannot stress this enough! NO SCREENS at least one hour before bedtime. The mind needs time to wind down into relaxation. Keep your phone in another room. We charge ours at the desk outside of our bedroom.
Journaling- Sometimes it's hard to sleep because so much is on our minds. Journaling is a good way to “get it all out”. There are different ways to journal- write/type it out, voice record, video record. Journaling should be done before you take melatonin or drink sleepytime tea. Once you “get it all out” for the time being it clears the mind to help you relax and sleep.
Melatonin- Take the supplement with water. I keep mine by my bed.
Read a Book- Reading a book can help distract the mind. Make sure you read a book that is calming such as a self help book on how to be at peace, or a daily devotional book. Reading an energizing book about pirates or soap opera type books is probably not the best selection. Reading a book can either help you sleep or keep you awake. Try it out. If it doesn't work then don't practice this step in your bedtime routine. If it does work that's great!
Sleepytime Tea- Drink sleepytime tea in a quiet room with very low lighting right before bedtime.
Relaxation Music- Play soft relaxation music. Best played on an iPod, bluetooth speaker or a simple device with no temptation of screens to look at. There is lots of music to choose from: Spa music, Rain, Nature Sounds, Beach Shore Waves, White Noise and more.
Cuddle Buddy- Sometimes the comfort of cuddling provides a loved feeling. Curl up with your significant other, cat, dog, body pillow or even stuffed animal. I sometimes cuddle with a stuffed teddy bear my Daddy got me for Valentine's Day.
Bedtime/Wake up time Schedule- Yes a schedule is important. Pick out the desired wake up time and count back the hours of sleep you need to bedtime. For example, if you need only 9 hours of sleep and want to wake up at 7:00am you would want to start your nightly routine at 9:00pm then go to sleep at 10:00pm. Be patient with yourself. It can take 1-2 weeks for your body to adjust to a new sleep routine. With different trials it may take a tad longer.
Seek Medical Help- If all else is not enough, your PCP may be able to help. Ask your PCP about a sleep study. A sleep study can usually tell what the cause is and how to treat it.
With a few trials you can find a routine that best fits you. Be patient with yourself. Stay on the chosen routine that works for you. Don't fall back into bad habits. Keep focused on what's most important- Your Health! <3