I’ve actually been sitting in front of this computer for over an hour, trying to narrow down a topic for tonight’s blog. I’ve got a lot of things I really want to talk about, so I was feeling kind of fuzzy about it…you know, one of those days where I just can’t make a decision. It’s been a rough day! Back to back meetings all morning at work, and a marathon training session in the afternoon. Then I ran home to get to Zumba on time, and after that I made dinner, washed the dishes, and sat down (finally) to put on my thinking cap. The longer I sat here, the more I thought, “Man, I’m really tired tonight!”
Then it dawned on me…that’s why I’m having a hard time. I’ve not had enough sleep. I’m just plain tired out. And we all know what that’s like – can’t concentrate, feel a little cranky, poor appetite, achy, etc. Usually Zumba makes it all better. But not tonight…so here I sat. That’s when I decided, maybe I should write about sleep, since it’s obviously pretty important to functioning well, both mentally and physically.
Our bodies are individual. Some of us can function on a few hours of sleep a night; some of us require more (I’m of the latter camp). But, we really all should strive to get 7-8 hours a night of good quality sleep. Sleep is vital. Our bodies detox and cells renew during sleep. If we don’t get enough, we are leaving that toxic sludge just laying around waiting to cause a problem – poor digestion, inflammation, headaches, reduced immunity, weight gain and a whole bunch of other disorders, not to mention mental problems like depression. There are hundreds of reasons why we don’t sleep well. It could be that our room is too light, you sleep with someone who snores, maybe you have restless leg syndrome. You could be unable to unwind and shut down that brain of yours. Mine likes to keep talking to me long after I’m ready for bed.
Here are some simple things you can do to improve your sleep quality:
- Get up at the same time every day (even on the weekends)
- Go to bed by 10:00 every night. It’s the earlier sleep that gives us the most quality
- Don’t eat right before you go to bed
- Shut off the TV at least an hour before you go to bed
- Shut off the computer, Facebook, your electronic reader, iPod, and other electronics so your brain shuts down, too
- Make sure your room is dark. Light of any kind interferes with your sleep, especially that blue or green glow from your alarm clock
- Drink some passionflower tea about an hour before you want to sleep…or warm milk if you’re not a tea drinker
- Stress-relief magnesium supplements will help (like Natural Calm)
- Do yoga or meditation
- Take a warm bath
- Make sure your bed is comfy and welcoming and you aren’t too hot or too cold
- Eat a healthy diet. Many processed foods contain neurotoxins that prevent sleep
Doing these things will help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Find what works for you and stick with it. Your sleep is too important to ignore a problem. Here’s to a good night’s sleep! Sweet dreams to you all!