While the world has never been so connected (at least digitally), and never has so much information been readily available, it seems one of the most significant downsides is that is also harder than ever to disconnect and shut off at the end of the day. Because it is so easy to be available, we sometimes incorrectly prioritize things other than our nightly shut-eye (Instagram scrollers and TikTok watchers, I am talking to you!). If you are struggling with your health, a great first step is assessing your current sleep routine.
Here are some of the downsides to insufficient sleep; a strained heart, mental cloudiness, less stable blood sugar, and excess weight to name a few. The problem is, it is not always so easy to relax, get comfortable and drift off to dreamland. One of the ways to combat this is to set the scene for sleep. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the rest your body craves:
- Try to limit screen time starting about an hour before bed
- Limit the activities in your bedroom to sleep and sex (i.e. no tv, no laptop, no iPhone; basically no other activities that confuse the purpose of your bedroom)
- Make the room as dark as possible for the most restful sleep
- Lower the temperature in the evening as sleep is more restful in a cooler room
If this is not enough, work to establish a sleep routine that works for you; something that will signal to your body that rest is eminent. This could be as simple as an evening bath or shower (your body temperature will naturally dip afterward and set the stage for a couple of hours of hibernation). Maybe instead you read a chapter of a book, wash your face, brush (and floss) your teeth and meditate. The combinations of activities are limitless, just make sure they are not too engaging/stimulating. Whatever you choose to do should be relaxing and set you up for the recommended 8 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
You should know that there will be times were sleep simply doesn’t come easy. That is okay too and generally will pass. Don’t let yourself get worked up. If you have been laying in bed for more than twenty minutes without drifting off, it is time to change the scenery and do something else until you start to feel drowsy. The only rule here is that the activity shouldn’t be too stimulating.
There are so many things a person can do to focus on his or her health, don’t ignore one of the most important activities. Sweet dreams!