We tend to think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down. But this is not the case; sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs.
I often hear people say, “oh I only need 4-5 hours of sleep to function.” Our body needs more than 4-5 hours. If you can’t fall asleep there is a reason, don’t dismiss it and justify it with not needing sleep. A nervous system that is regulated will sleep better and longer. Worry and stress will keep you awake at night as your body is in fight/flight state and when you are “under threat” your sleep will be compromised to survive. The problem is that your relationship/ finances/work is not life-threatening but your body will react as if it was.
Unfortunately, a person can't just accumulate sleep deprivation and then log many hours of sleep to make up for it. The best sleep habits are consistent, healthy routines that allow all of us, regardless of our age, to meet our sleep needs every night.
Some tips to improve your sleep include:
* Limiting daytime naps to 30 minutes. Napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep. However, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness, and performance.
* Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. And when it comes to alcohol, moderation is key.
* Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light. Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
* Establishing a regular relaxing bedtime routine. A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime. This could include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches.
And most importantly, take care of your mental health. Your peace of mind shows up everywhere. Are you making yourself a priority?