For many adults, attaining the recommended seven to eight hours of restful sleep per night can feel like an Olympic feat. For some this may be self-inflicted by simply do not allotting ourselves enough time to be asleep. Our busy schedules seep into our precious sleep time. It can sometimes feel like staying up late or waking up early is the only way we can accomplish all the items on our to-do list. Unfortunately, this scenario becomes a double-edged sword as sleep deprivation can lead to decreased productivity and can make thinking clearly more difficult. We likely would get more done in less time if we were operating on a good night’s sleep.
In addition to self-induced scheduling conflicts, many adults struggle with sleep disorders. Sources report that sleep disorders affect millions of American’s and account for $16 million in medical costs each year. Sleep disorder sufferers report having a hard time falling asleep, while others battle with staying asleep. Both of these scenarios may indicate a disorder known as insomnia. Some struggle with sleep apnea which causes breathing interruptions during sleep. Furthermore, a group of sleep problems known as parasomnias affect many adults and can make restful sleep incredibly challenging. Parasomnias include bed wetting, grinding your teeth at night, sleep walking and night terrors, among others.
With so many sleep obstacles, it may feel like a good night’s rest is incessantly out of reach. Before you concede to move through life groggy and heavily caffeinated, consider creating some good sleep habits and see if you can improve your pillow time organically. Although good sleep habits may not cure your sleep disorder, it never hurts to create healthy routines to promote your overall well-being.
Restful Sleep Tips
Often times, restful sleep starts with how you live your life during the day. Waking up around the same time each morning is a great way to create consistency in your sleep schedule. Many of us enjoy starting our day with a hot cup of coffee. That being said, are you overloading on caffeine throughout the rest of the day? Be especially mindful of consuming caffeine after 3pm, or call it quits even earlier if possible. During your wakeful hours, try to move your body. Regular exercise promotes over health and could help us sleep better at night. However, pay attention to the time of day you are hitting the gym. It might be helpful to exercise in the morning to kick start your energy for the day ahead, rather than in the evening when its time for you body to start to wind down. Lastly, if you enjoy a good cat nap during the daylight hours, try not to sleep for too long, and not too late in the day. You do not want your nap to interfere with your nighttime sleep.
Once you have become more aware of how your daytime activities may impact your sleep habits, consider creating a routine around going to bed each night. If possible, try to stick to roughly the same bedtime each evening. Let your routine be a bit more nourishing than simply washing your face and brushing your teeth (although those are both important!). If it helps, think of this as a self-care ritual. Start to wind down well before you need to be in bed asleep. Dim the lights, turn off the screens, pour yourself a warm cup of caffeine free tea. If you have time, you can even draw a hot bath, meditate or read a book. Whatever routine you choose, this ritual should signal to your brain and your body that it is time to relax.
When it is finally time to crawl between the sheets, make sure your room is dark, the temperature is cool, and most importantly – put down your cellphone! Even better – put it across the room so you avoid the temptation to scroll the internet while lying in bed. Come to lie in stillness and focus your awareness on your breath. Take a few deep inhales followed by even longer, fuller exhales. Mindfully relax each part of your body. Allow your breath to settle in its natural rhythm. Slowly soften into a deep, sound sleep. We hope you wake up feeling refreshed, clear-headed and ready for your day!