By Kim Wetmore
I have recently discovered, being in my late 30’s, a wife and mother and person who values having employment, that sleep has become more important than ever in my busy life. I have experienced that even just a couple of nights consisting of less than 8 hours of sleep really affects how the following days plays out. I have noticed aches and pains that only present themselves when I have not slept enough, not to mention I do not like being around myself, so I am quite sure others do not appreciate my “attitude.” This inspired me to do a little research on how to improve my sleep habits and thought I would share them with all of you.
1) Blue Light is the Enemy – I used to have an alarm clock that had blue numbers that glowed annoyingly throughout the room. Research has shown that the short waves of this blue light disrupt sleep. This blue light is also produced by TV screens, smartphones and computers. Unplug an hour before bed for best results.
2) Set a schedule and stick to it! – Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, including the weekends, you will be able to fall asleep and wake up much easier.
3) Caffeine – Caffeine is not a bad thing, but using it wisely makes all the difference. Having a cup of coffee in the morning is always enjoyable and gets you going. It’s the cup at 4 o’clock in the afternoon that is causing your sleep to suffer.
4) Exercise – In all aspects of human life, exercise is known as a positive thing. Create an exercise routine for every day and remember not to do it too close to bed time. The burst of energy will slow the sleep process. Please note, as opposed to other forms of exercise, yoga and tai chi are great forms of relaxation before bed time.
5) Drinking water at night – (this is one I struggle with) It is best not to drink any fluids within 2 hours of bedtime. This will prevent the middle of the night wake up call from the bathroom!
6) Dim the lights – Bright lights essentially tell your body that it is time to be awake. If you dime the lights in the house within the hour before bed time, your body naturally responds by relaxing.
7) Keep pets off the bed – As much as we love them, pets should sleep in their own bed. Their movements can keep us awake and their dander can cause upsetting allergies. I can relate to this as my chihuahua seems to become the size of a Labrador when it is time to snuggle in.
A good night’s sleep is going to improve the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of your life. Having the right habits to promote good sleep are going to make life easier for you.