Five Tips for Better Sleep
Sleep as a Second Thought
We can all use these five tips for better sleep since we tend to push it to the bottom of important self-care activities. You see, we treat sleep as an option rather than a necessity. However, that is farther from the truth. We need to remind ourselves about how important sleep is. It can lead to serious consequences if your body does not get enough of it.
We have all done it, in our youths, we learn to forgo sleep so we can fit in more fun. In fact, I remember going out weekday nights till 2 or 3 in the morning and then turning around and getting up at five for work. Admittedly, it was not as painful losing sleep when I was young but the older I got the longer it took for me to recuperate from those late nights. Thus, I was not aware of how detrimental lack of sleep truly was to my health.
Health risks include, but are not limited to:
- Memory Issues
- Trouble with thinking and concentration
- Mood Changes
- Weakened Immune system
- High Blood Pressure
- Risk of Diabetes
- Weight Gain
- Low Sex Drive
- Risk of Heart Disease
- Poor Balance
You need Sleep to heal your body and to process information. Below is a larger list of the many benefits of a good night.
- Controls Appetite and Metabolism
- Stores Important Information
- Renews Energy
- Improves Positive Outlook
- Tissue Growth For Repair
- Immune System Boost
- Decreases Stress Hormones
- Sex Hormones increase
- Speeds up Brain Processing
Sleep Was Not Easy
I will not lie, it’s hard making yourself go to bed by a specific time when you have the TV to watch or Facebook comments to respond to. Clearly, making the sacrifice to go to bed early is not easy and motivation is even harder. In fact, I hate sleep, I do. As a rule, I have always had the attitude of ‘I will sleep when I am dead’, but something changed my mind.
While taking the kids to and from school I nearly missed a simple turn which could have resulted in a terrible result. Sadly, I knew that my choice to stay up just so I could have my time was not a good enough reason to miss sleep. It’s because of that event that I chose to look into figuring out how to get myself to go to bed earlier.
After a couple of years, I finally am able to get myself to bed at a reasonable time at 9:30 pm. I also have begun to get up earlier at 4:30 am. Plus, If you go to bed at a reasonable time you get your sleep and get more accomplished. How sad, I fought it for so long thinking I was missing out but as it turned out it has made my life almost a breeze (motherhood is hard as heck). Here are my five tips for better sleep. P.S. I am not calling this a hack because there is no hacking around sleep.
The Five Tips
Put Down The Coffee
First, get used to paying attention to the time and stop drinking coffee after two pm. Coffee is terrible for sleep if you drink it after three. This part was not to difficult, I would simply make myself a decaf cup of coffee or a decaf tea. Find a drink that you enjoy without caffeine and switch after two. Your Sleep will thank you.
Decrease Your Alcohol Intake
Second, alcohol took me a long time to put down. I thought I needed it to calm down in the evening and could not imagine living without it. This made me realize what crutch alcohol was, so I began to slowly decrease my intake from a beer or two per night to a beer per week, till finally a beer a month (this amount is even too much for me now).
Now that I have given up alcohol let me tell you why you should decrease or give it up for better sleep. It messes up your circadian rhythm by lowering your sugar and other hormones. When you toss and turn all night (even when you are not aware) you do not get enough sleep, alcohol does that to you. There is no way around this specific suggestion because alcohol is technically a poison and our bodies react accordingly. So to maximize the hours you sleep, try to wean yourself of that nightly cap.
Use Your Phone Wisely
Third, I still use my phone at night, but now I use it to listen to sleep meditation music (and affirmations). Schedule your evening so that you can end any running around and eat around seven pm. After seven pm began your wind down by putting on quiet music getting the kids ready for bed, or your cat and settling to read or watching a show.
I turn off our TV at 8 and read to the kids and put myself in bed not shortly after. The reason I put myself to bed so early is that the longer I am in bed the less shortchanged I feel about my me time. I then watch another tv show or YouTube videos for another half hour. After my half hour is over I switch my phone to meditation sleep affirmations, and for some reason, those calm voices telling I am “abundance” put me right to sleep.
Relax Your Body and Mind
Fourth, the end of the day is often full of stressful energy. Often times our days and commute can leave you feeling exhausted but wired, which means less sleep. Even after making dinner and going about our evening routine we still have loose energy. Try and incorporate the following tips to help your stress and relax quicker.
- Drink Tea
- Read a Book
- Take a Warm Shower/Bath
- Use Soothing Oils
- Set Home Temperature to 65-72 Degrees
- Do Yoga
- Forget the Nap
- Check Your Bed (is the mattress sleep friendly?)
Create a Habit
Fifth, making yourself go to sleep at a reasonable time is a habit, a pattern. You cannot see change or benefits of sleep, without doing it a long time and making it part of your permanent routine. Stick with it, every night, don’t change your pattern, and slowly one day at a time great sleep will become your normal. Let me reassure you good sleep habits were not easy even for the amazing overachievers, they practiced making the sacrifice of going to bed early and getting good sleep.
Learn more about habits, check out my Habits Post HERE.
Last, please understand that my sleep routine took me a long time to master. It did not come easy, I fought so hard to make it a sleep habit. With that, I urge you to give yourself time and be okay with failing a couple of times but to push through that. I also suggest you start after an exhausting day, it will make it easier to fall asleep that night. But the hard part will be the next night when your body feels better, push past the urge to stay up, go to sleep.
After a full year of good nights of sleep, I hate it when my routine gets disrupted (but I can usually jump back to it). Keep your self accountable to get a good nights sleep for your bodies benefit, your children’s sake and a better life in general. Happy Zz.
What puts you to sleep fast?
Do you enjoy sleep or hate it?
Any sleep tips you have?
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