I won’t lie, I always wish there were more hours in the day. Especially in the winter, when it gets dark, it can be hard to find my groove again. I have also gotten out of the habit of prioritising sleep so to get myself back on track I thought I would delve into the value of sleep a little bit more and why we should make it more of a priority.
We have all heard that sleep helps keeps you alert during the day which in turn keeps your brain and memory sharp and on point. I don’t know about you but my memory is poor at the best of times so it could use all the help I can give it.
Bad sleeping habits have been linked to cardiovascular diseases, depression, high stress levels and more. I know people who suffer from fatigue, chronic illnesses, mental health issues and see first hand how sleep can help keep their symptoms at bay. Along with mental health issues, I have mentioned, I also have to keep an eye on my cardiovascular health. I have seen the positive impact on both of these when I have a good sleeping habit compared to times when it has been below average.
I know I write better in the mornings. Case in point, I am actually writing this on Saturday morning. I am more awake, alert and just feel more creative. If I try to write at 10pm which I do sometimes, it takes longer, my contraction is not the best and I end up checking back the word I have written the night, the morning after. I find it asa sign I need to wind down and the into bed.
Now we know this, the question is how do we ensure we improve the quality of our sleep?
Wake up and go to sleep at the same time
There is something to be said for routine. As human we are creatures of habit and that includes our sleeping habits. Set your alarm for the same time everyday (including the weekend) and set an alarm to go to bed at the same time everyday to ensure you get the set hours of sleep you and your body needs.
Wind down at least half an hour before bed
I got in to an habit of settling down with a show or youtube before bed. I find it comforting. It is small form of self care I include in my daily routine which makes a big difference. If you are interested I am currently obsessed with The West Wing and Greys Anatomy so you can expect me to be curling up with an episode of one of these come 10pm most evenings.
Finish eating an hour before bed
I suffer form hiatus hernia which means I have to make sure I do not eat a big meal at least two hours before bed. If I have a small snack, I make sure it is at least an hour or so before I go to bed. Trust me, your gut will thank you for it.
Switch your phone to night mode
I could tell you to not look at your phone before bed but that would make me a hypocrite. instead, what I will do is turn your phone into night mode. This gives your phone a yellow tinge to it, taking away the blue light which affects the melatonin you are exposed too. This prevents it from impacting in your sleep cycle and allows you to sleep a bit more peacefully.
If you want to learn more about the value of sleep and why it is important, I would listen to this podcast hosted by Dr Rangan Chatterjee who interviews Mathew Walker all about the topic of sleep and its importance. My dad always taught me about the value of sleep but this podcast made me investigate it further.