You wake up in the morning, eyes not even open, and find yourself yearning for the coffee pot. You feel groggy, grumpy, and confused on why you are still tired. You made sure you got those recommended eight hours, but how come your body feels like it never fully took the time to reset?Let's face it, we've all been there. Although many of us may go months and months simply ignoring the signs of acute sleep deprivation, it's important to take note of the effects on your physical and mental health over an extended period of time.
Sleep is an essential part of our health that I feel is too often overlooked. As a modern society, we run ourselves into the ground day in and day out. We make excuses why we should keep going too. I have too much to do, or I need to go out late and party to get away from stress...it's a shame that the single most thing that we sacrifice is a good night's rest! Unfortunately I consider myself a bit of a procrastinator and lately I've taken to putting off when my body tells me it's time to go to sleep. Many mornings I find myself waking to experience the dreaded grogginess. That's not to say that it is abnormal at all. We all fall out of balance time and time again. We stop going to the gym as much as we should, or start eating too much sugar, it's all the same. The important part is noticing when we are off track and finding the simple ways to push ourselves back on track.
If you feel your sleeping habits could also use some improvement, here are best tips I've found to improve your quality of sleep and leave you feeling productive, mentally sharp, and full of energy all day long.
Establish a Schedule
In order to have a healthy sleep pattern, it’s important to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day. Why is it important to try our bests to stick to a schedule though? This allows our REM cycles to regulate which tells is our internal clock that tells us when we should be sleeping or not.
I'm sure this is the number one tip that you've heard throughout the years, but have had the hardest time following. To be honest it's pretty unreasonable to think that we can wake up and go to sleep at the same exact time every single night. On the weekends we may go out and stay up later, and some mornings we may have special occasions where we need to wake up even earlier than normal. The bottom line is that if you have a roundabout time that you stick to the majority of the time, then you're doing well!
Give Technology a Rest
Melatonin is a natural hormone in our bodies that controls our sleep schedule and is controlled by light exposure. When it's dark, we become sleepy because more melatonin is secreted into the body, and vise versus when it's light out. Consider the effects that the bright light from cell phones and computers can have on your levels of melatonin right before bedtime. Not to mention that the stimulation on your brain from looking at social media or texting doesn't allow it to rest and prepare for sleep. Consider reading a book in soft light or listening to relaxing music before you rest your eyes instead.
Invest In Comfort
Your bed should always be the most comfortable place in your home. It may seem petty but it's very important to invest money into quality sheets, pillows, and a mattress. Think about it, you spend 6-10 hours out of 24 in your bed, it's going to be well worth it to make it a place that you look forward to being in. Additionally from a spinal health perspective, if you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different textiles, mattress compositions, and sleeping positions as well.
If you’re like me then as soon as you crawl under the covers, you start worrying about a problem or a long to-do list. Those thoughts are often time the very things that rob me of a good night’s sleep. Mindful meditation is a helpful tool in letting go and fully relaxing. Try laying flat on your back, propping your knees under a pillow, closing your eyes and letting all your thoughts drift away. Focus only on your breathing and slowly you will sink into one of the deepest sleeps you've ever had.
Create a Peaceful Environment
Like I said above, you are inevitably going to be spending a lot of time in your bed. Peacefulness is the number one quality that people should feel when they are in their bedrooms. Create an environment with tools to help you fall asleep. I keep lavender essential oil, eye pillows, and lotions next to my bed as products to aid in calming myself down. As I mentioned too, lighting is very important. Create a space that is dark and brings you tranquility at night.