I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who needs a good solid 6 per night or I am a vicious gal. Let’s face it, sleep deprivation doesn’t look good on anyone and most of us don’t give our sleep habits a second thought when we are thinking about our health. Now that the holidays are approaching and we are staring at some relaxing time surrounded by our friends and loved ones, (yeah RIGHT!) I think it’s a great time to look at our sleeping arrangements and if need be, make some adjustments. Personally, I have a busy 2015 on tap – physically and mentally…guess what I need to be able to make everything happen that is on my calendar? Yep – sleep.
Here are some great tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Set a bedtime. Even as adults, we need a bit of routine in order to give our minds a chance to rest. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you can not waste time tossing and turning. Try not to break this routine on weekends even though it may be tempting to stay up late. If you want to change your bedtime, help your body adjust by making the change in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day.
- Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. I have an internal alarm that opens my eyes around 7’ish EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don’t need a buzzing, obnoxious clock. I wake up naturally without stress.
- Nap early make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, or if you are fighting off illness, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. This won’t affect your normal bed time routine yet your body can get a little extra rest.
- Be smart about napping. While taking a nap can be a great way to recharge, especially for older adults, it can make insomnia worse. If insomnia is a problem, don’t nap. There isn’t an adult person alive that needs more than a 30 minute nap to recharge.
- Fight the drowsiness. If you find that you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid sleep. Washing the dishes or get your things ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you won’t be able to fall asleep later.
- Don’t sleep with a TV or computer on in your room. This is probably the hardest piece of advice for me to follow. I have the TV or music on 24/7. I am always afraid of missing something so instead, I deprive my brain the luxury of completely unplugging. I have found that one of those nifty sound machines works wonders to help break the silence without my having the need for the TV.
Changing your sleep habits can lead to greatly improve sleep quality and quantity. Sleep helps our brains and our bodies rest and recover from many of life’s challenges. A rested mind can function better and make better decisions. Sleep keeps your stress level down which in turn makes you happier. And in the words of Reese Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde “Happy People don’t kill their husbands.”
Let’s do our part for the murder count. Get some sleep and be a happier person.