Getting Better Sleep (2 of 3) — Setting Routines to Improve Sleep Quality
Do you ever notice feeling as though you just don’t have enough to give? Many of us think we are getting enough sleep, but how would your colleagues and love ones rank your level of patience and presence? Sleep can be one of the most significant factors affecting our mood.
Everyone has had trouble sleeping at one time or another. When insomnia, or sleep deprivation become a problem, there are a number of ways that we can improve our quality of sleep naturally. Setting up routines and knowing what activities encourage and discourage normal sleeping patterns is the first step to a restful night and more productive day.
Although many people relish the ability to sleep in on the weekends, doing so can actually make waking up for work more difficult. By setting up a sleep schedule that is followed throughout the week, weekend, and holidays, we are more likely to have successful sleep. Once in the habit of going to bed, and waking up at a certain time, people experience more energy during the day.
Bedtime rituals can assist in getting in the mood for sleep. Reading a book or magazine, taking a bath or a shower, and diffusing essential oils can all be great ways to unwind. Avoid televisions, computer screens, and backlit e-readers because they give off light simulating sunlight, limiting melatonin production. They are far too stimulating! Listening to an audio book or soothing music before bed are good alternatives.
Similarly, dimming lights can help prepare the body for sleep. A dark, cool bedroom with comfortable bedding, pillows, and mattress can all help improve sleep quality. What is comfortable for each person is subjective, but be sure to keep the bed as a place for sleep, not work. Sharing bed space with your work laptop can hinder the sleep process. Any distractions in the bed should be taken care of. If you have small children or pets and they are making it more difficult for you to sleep, set boundaries so that everyone can have a restful night.
Daytime naps are fine, as long as they are not excessively long, or taken too close to bedtime. Ten to thirty minutes is a good length of time for a nap, and the mid-afternoon is an appropriate napping time.
Physical activity can help people fall asleep faster, but should not be performed close to bedtime, since it is stimulating and can interfere with sleep. In addition, managing stress during the daytime can allow your mind to not worry too much about the upcoming day. If stress is an issue, consider organizing tasks, prioritizing, and even delegating some to others. If stress is still a concern, there are many ways to lower stress, but that’s a whole different blog post!
Sleep is a restorative time that we give to our bodies to allow for a healthy, balanced body. These tips are tried and true, completely natural, and are much better than popping a pill! With better sleep we can all be happier, more productive versions of ourselves.
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