How are you sleeping, dear?
It's a question your mom or grandma may ask you over the phone. It's definitely something your doctor asks you. And, it's a question we often ask our clients. But, have you thought about how truly important sleep is for you?
Health sleep habits, or good sleep hygiene are learned at a young age, hopefully. Most of us had a bedtime as kids, and as adults we know we should get to bed at a decent hour in order to be ready for the next day. But, what happens when we sleep?
Your brain sorts through everything you experienced, cataloguing memories into short term & long term. If you haven't seen Inside Out, by Pixar, they touch a little bit on what goes on in Riley's brain while she's sleeping one night. Your body also works to heal, restore & recover.
According to the Sleep Foundation, "Sleep allows the brain and body to slow down and engage in processes of recovery promoting better physical & mental performance the next day & over long-term."
There are four stages of sleep & you will go through 4-5 sleep cycles throughout the night. A sleep cycle is roughly 90 minutes long. You can actually count backwards from when you need to wake up in the morning, counting in 90 minute increments. For instance, if you need to wake up at 6am, and you need at least 7.5 hours of sleep, then you need to be ASLEEP by 10:30. Give yourself 15-20 minutes to fall asleep, so then you need to be laying down my 10pm. The reason for planning to wake up at the end of a sleep cycle, is that you'll wake up feeling more alert & less groggy.
Here are some ways to help you get better, and more quality sleep.
Go to bed & get up at the same time every day
Maintain a night-time routine by winding down & relaxing
Avoid alcohol, caffiene and smoking
Be physicaly active
Invest in your sleeping environment with good, comfortable bedding & window coverings.
Don't use a tablet or phone in bed
Don't stay indoors all day or avoid exercise
Don't eat heavy meals before bed
Don't go to bed when you're not at least a little tired
Don't nap for too long or too late.
Take these tips and start incorpprating them into your life & you'll be grateful for your improved sleep and overall health!