“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a popular saying that can potentially harm you in the long run. We have known for a long time that sleep is crucial for self-care and without it, a myriad of health issues can arise. Just like you make it a point to brush your teeth twice a day and exercise daily, making sure you get enough quality sleep needs to be a priority.
Often, when we are busy and stressed, the one thing that seems to fall to the wayside is our sleeping habits. Unfortunately, sleep has adopted a stigma as more of a luxury than a necessity. The total opposite should happen in times of stress and as much as we would like to believe that more yoga, meditation and superfood smoothies will make us health goddesses, that is only part of the solution.
Prolonged sleep deprivation has been scientifically proven to be just as dangerous as drunk driving and the health consequences are seriously eye-opening, no pun intended. Inconsistent quality sleep long-term can lead to an increased risk of stroke, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Pretty scary stuff. Plus, how awful do you feel the next day after a restless night, not so great. So why does society paint the picture that in order to excel in all aspects of your life, rest needs to take a back seat? This is a false representation of what we should be striving for and can actually backfire, ultimately causing complete burnout.
The root causes of why we are sleep deprived are numerous but here are a few of the more frequent offenders: anxiety, depression, clinical insomnia, stress, poor dietary habits and a combination of one or all of these. Experts have found that you may not realize you’re sleep deprived for a while, due to our reliance on caffeine or simply denial.
The bottom line is that we all could improve our sleep habits one way or another. Who wouldn’t want to improve the quality of their life? Well, one way of doing that is by getting enough quality shut-eye. If you’re ready to take charge of your sleep and your life, here are a few tips that can help you get there.
1. Go to sleep at the same time every night, even on the weekends – Developing a consistent sleep schedule, one in which you go to bed and wake up around the same time is important for your circadian rhythm. For example, when you go to sleep every night at 10:00, your body prepares to start shutting down around that time because it knows you are about to turn in for the night. Same goes for waking up at the same time.
2. Create a bedtime routine – This will trigger your mind and body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for rest. Curl up on the couch with a cup of tea, blanket and a good book or even schedule your daily meditation practice for this time
3. Don’t stress it – The worst thing you could possibly do during a night of tossing and turning is to stress out about not being able to fall and stay asleep. If you find yourself restless one night after trying to naturally fall back asleep, remove yourself from your bed and relocate to another room. Sit on the couch and read until you feel your eyes getting heavy. Counting sheep is not always the best solution.
Sleep is an essential part of overall health and wellbeing. One third of our entire lives are spent sleeping and it is a time when the body recovers and rests. Without the proper amount and quality, we are harming our health in the long run. Try one of these tips tonight and counting sheep with be a thing of the past.