How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel like staying under the covers for another 10 minutes, an hour, or perhaps the whole day? If you’re like most, you might not be getting enough sleep every night. And maybe the entire family is missing out on the benefits of what a good night’s sleep can do for your body and mind. Here, I’ll share why quality sleep matters and some tips for better sleep that can help you get the Z’s that you and your family need.
Why Quality Sleep Matters
Being well-rested leaves you feeling more alert and just better in general. And the many benefits of sleep surpass eliminating circles around the eyes. As a matter of fact, sleep’s importance is related to many other areas of good health and should be a regular part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are just a few ways that adequate sleep can positively impact your health:
- Reduce inflammation
- Ward off cancer
- Improve memory
- Make you smarter
- Help you remain alert
These are just a few but there are many more health benefits of good sleep. Living with a constant feeling of chronic exhaustion is not fun at all. Eventually, you simply must find ways to get more rest or your body will become depleted and ill. It’s best to be proactive and address the problem before your body forces you to take drastic action. And there are many other reasons to aim for adequate sleep. Are you ready to snooze more peacefully and longer at night? Try some of these tips so you can get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Tips for Better Sleep
1. Leave stress at the doorstep.
Does your mind tend to whirl even after you’re home for the day? Develop a conscious way to de-stress when you arrive home each day. This might mean putting away your work materials or leaving them in the car, taking a few moments to unwind before you jump into household activities, or going for a walk in the evening. Journaling before bedtime can also help you to purge what’s on your mind so you have a more relaxed sleep. Create an active system to track your To Do’s and free up your mind before you lay down.
2. Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary.
Make your bedroom an organized and quiet place that helps you to feel calm upon entering it. Regard your bedroom as a retreat from the stress of the day. Minimize the number of electronics and distractions in your bedroom. This means getting rid of the big screen and all of the other objects that detract from our ability to sleep peacefully.
3. Make your room as dark as possible.
When it’s time to hit the hay, there should be no light to be found. This is the best condition for sleeping. Our bodies are designed to “hibernate” when it’s dark. This goes for everyone in the family. It might take a few days or weeks to get used to, but the change in the quality of sleep will be noticeable for everyone.
Tip: Consider investing in “blackout” curtains for the bedrooms in your home.
4. Exercise earlier rather than later.
Exercising during the day releases stress hormones to help you feel more relaxed. Unlike what you might believe, exercising close to bedtime won’t “wear you out.” Ever notice that you have a boost of energy and are more alert after a work-out. On the days you exercise, get in the habit of doing it well ahead of bedtime. This goes for yoga too. The energy you receive from an earlier workout will actually work to your advantage. Your body will be relaxed, calm, and ready for a restful night of sleep.
5. Develop a bedtime routine.
Remember when your kids were infants (and maybe they still are) and you were training them to sleep through the night? You probably realized that they needed a bedtime routine to get in the habit of going to bed and staying asleep. Well, routines are not just for kids. Make your own bedtime routine by getting in the habit of going to bed at a certain time. Setting your body into this routine will let your body naturally start to expect sleep at a certain time each day, and before you know it you’ll be sleeping peacefully every night. Also, consider incorporating soothing activities into your bedtime routine like a warm cup of caffeine-free tea, a warm shower, reading, or journaling.
Learning to sleep peacefully is not an overnight process, but once you’re able to adopt some of these habits mentioned above you’ll experience a great improvement in the quality of your sleep and your overall quality of life. Once you’ve learned to rest well at night, you’ll experience a huge improvement in your quality of life.
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Advocate, Health Educator, and a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. She helps parents to build healthier habits and routines to better balance home and work life. Her website, WholeFamilyLiving.com, provides motivation and simple strategies for handling everyday challenges like managing stress, being active, eating healthier, losing weight, and more. Alicia is a beach lover and gardening geek in her spare time.