Sleep, we all need it! What happens when we don't get enough? Why do we need it? Well, for one, not getting enough sleep can leave us feeling run-down, irritable and even put on extra weight. We can have higher risk for illness, be more susceptible to stress and often our mental performance suffers.
Knowing we need more sleep is a no brainer. Actually getting it.. well, that can be a little harder. So, how do we accomplish this? One way to help is creating a routine. Yep. Having a routine before going to bed helps us to unwind mentally and physically to prepare for going to sleep. Our body follows a natural circadian rhythm and by keeping a schedule we can reinforce this.
We are going all day long between work, household responsibilities and activities. Continuing those activities up until right before bedtime and expecting to get some good rest is wishful thinking. Constantly going until bedtime can be a disruptor but other disruptors are: lights, exercising later, and electronics. Think about it. Sleep is a relaxing activity, so why would prepare for it doing anything else besides something relaxing? Rather than going for a late night run or sticking yourself in front of a computer screen, read a book, stretch, take a bath, pray or meditate. Find something that you can do every night to get your body ready for sleep. It will thank you.
About 15 years ago I had a tennis class that went from 8:30-10 PM. Now, you'd think after all that exercise and running around I would come home and drop into bed exhausted right? That's not what would happen. I would lay in bed and just stare into the darkness forever. Nowadays, I plan to get my exercise done during the morning or early afternoon knowing what happens if I wait until evening. I work to keep the nighttime exercise to a minimum. knowing that I will fall asleep faster if I get it done earlier.
Do I have a routine other than just getting my exercise in earlier? Why yes I do. Almost every night I take a warm bath with Epsom salts. I love the Dr. Teals salts that have a scent. I then put a little peppermint oil on my neck and hop into bed to read a chapter or two of a book or just settle in to sleep. I do notice a difference in how my body and mind settle down. I am out no later than 10 every night. (Is that nerdy to admit?)
Take a minute to think of your evening schedule. Are you preparing your mind and body to get the rest they really need? If not, take a week or two and try adding a routine to your evening routine. Maybe that's a cup of calming tea and a good book, or a nice stretching session. Find things that will relax both body and mind and then sit back and wait for those awesome benefits of rest to come your way.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Until next month.
Wife, mom and Health Coach. Lover of life and learning. (and my dog Steve)