Recently I presented a workshop on “Healthy Lifestyle is a Habit” for employees of a large export company. Of all the topics we discussed, including diet, exercise, mindset and sleep, by far the topic of most interest was sleep, or rather difficulties with sleeping and lack of sleep.
It is challenging to be productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day when you are tired and dragging from lack of sleep. We all have experienced the frustration of not being able to sleep well, lying awake at night, watching the hours tick by, as we desperately try to catch some shut-eye before the alarm rings to start the day.
How much sleep do you need? While requirements vary slightly from one person to another, research shows that most healthy adults function at their best with at least eight hours of sleep. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and daily lifestyle choices all have a profound effect on the quality of your rest.
Getting in sync with your natural sleepwake cycle is important for good sleep. If you keep a regular schedule, going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day, you will feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. Consistency is key.
Making a consistent effort to relax and unwind before bed can help you sleep easier and more deeply. Unhook from work, email, texting and television. A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it is time to relax and let go of stress. Here are tips for better sleep:
• Set a regular bedtime.
• Wake up at the same time every day. If you are getting adequate sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm, try an earlier bedtime.
• Stay away from big meals at night. Avoid heavy, rich foods two hours before bedtime. Fatty foods take more energy to digest and may keep you up through the night.
• Cut down on caffeine and avoid liquids in the evening. Caffeine can keep you awake for up to twelve hours after drinking it, and caffeinated drinks act as diuretics and will likely keep you up.
• Create a quite environment. Avoid or eliminate noise and distractions with a fan, recordings of soothing sounds, or white noise.
• Keep your room cool. Room temperature affects sleep. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room with adequate ventilation.
• Make sure your bed is comfortable. You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably.
If you have tried the tips above and are still struggling with sleep problems, you may have a sleep disorder that requires professional treatment.
Pat Morgan is the founder of Pat’s Healthy Living. She works with busy professionals to create health and lifestyle freedom. She may be contacted by calling 305-458-2849 or by email at CoachPatMorgan@gmail.com.