Sleep - Getting it Right
Although we don’t actually know why we need to sleep, we know we need it. And we definitely notice it when we don’t get quality sleep. Ask any parent of a newborn!
During sleep, our bodies will rest, recover and repair. It is also the time for the brain to consolidate memories.
We equally know that lack of quality sleep leads to fatigue, decreased coordination, impaired judgement, poor mental clarity and increased emotional sensitivity – as we parents often see in our children after a poor night’s sleep.
So how do you know you are getting quality sleep? Simply ask yourself the following questions:
Do I wake most mornings feeling refreshed?
Do I have the energy to get through my day with ease and grace?
If you answered yes, then you are most likely getting the quality sleep that supports the repair and recovery processes.
If you answered no, then you need to consider taking steps to improve your quality of sleep. Some ideas include:
Aim for around 8 hours of sleep each night, and go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on the weekends. This routine will improve sleep quality over time.
Decrease your screen time before bed – preferably 1- 2hours. The blue light from phones and tablets actually stimulates your brain preventing restorative sleep.
Create a sleep routine – same 405 things you do every night to trigger your brain and body to slow and rest. Reading a book, having a cup of calming herbal tea, a warm shower, and gratitude practices are all great sleep promoting activities
Decrease stimulation before bed – intense exercise less than 2-3 hours and eating a heavy meal before bed are two common stimulating activities that may prevent you from falling asleep easily.
Work to the premise of “Fix the Day to Fix the Night” – decreasing stress, getting outside in the sun, and exercising are all day time activities that promote quality sleep at night.
Finally, address any medical conditions that may prevent you from restorative sleep, such as sleep apnoea. Unfortunately, it has been shown that chronic poor sleep can lead to diabetes and obesity.
Whether you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, getting quality sleep is a priority for everyone. Creating a routine and creating optimal pre -sleep conditions is the best way to allow the body to do what it does naturally – sleep to heal, restore and recover.
Tips to improve sleep are found in Module 4 of my Stress Resilience Program, a self paced online program to help you better handle whatever comes your way!