SLEEP is such an important part to keeping our bodies healthy. You hear people say, “I’ll sleep later” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Having a normal sleep cycle promotes good health and restores our bodies. Our ancestors had it a bit better in this area because they did not have electricity that allowed them to stay up around the clock. They woke up when the sun was coming up and went to bed when it was getting dark. They had better sleep cycles than we do today.
I am a person who understands just how important sleep is because of my own experience. I feel like sleep is one of those things we take for granted until we aren’t getting the good quality sleep we need or used to get.
You may wonder, “Why do I need to get good sleep?” Here are a few benefits to getting good sleep.
- Good heart health
- Keeps our immune systems strong which helps us fight illnesses.
- Reduces stress
- Reduces inflammation in our bodies
- Our bodies repair during sleep
- Protects and improves our memory
- Helps reduce depression and anxiety
- Encourages a healthy weight (disturbed sleep cycles can cause weight gain.)
- Reduces risk of stroke
- Reduces risk of diabetes
Do these benefits make you want to sleep better? I know I feel so much better when I get good sleep. Here are some ways to help you create healthy sleep habits:
- Make sleep a priority
- Have a set bed time
- Have a bed time routine to wind down before bed.
- Create a good sleep environment in your bedroom.
One way to create better sleep patterns is to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. This may sound difficult, but if you start doing it, you will create a healthy habit. We need good quality sleep in order for our bodies to repair. We generally go through 90 min sleep cycles throughout the night alternating from deep sleep to lighter sleep. The deep sleep is when we are going through that restoring and repairing phase. The lighter cycles are called REM or rapid eye movement. Those REM cycles generally occur in the second part of the night closer to day break. If you are going to bed later, you are missing out on some of the restoring and repairing sleep and therefore feeling less rested when waking. The deep sleep cycles are what help us to feel for alert and productive.
Having a good environment for sleep is also very important. Remember to sleep in total darkness, no night lights, etc. This helps with melatonin production, which is a hormone that helps with sleep. Melatonin production increases with darkness and decreases with light. In our culture today, we have lights on late into the night, where as years ago, people when to bed when it started to get dark and didn’t burn the candle at both ends. Another thing for a good sleep environment is to have quiet or a sound machine that helps block out extra noise that may keep you from sleeping. Make sure the temperature in your room is at a temperature that suits you for sleeping. Remember, whatever you need to enhance good quality sleep, is what you need to improve.
Create a sleep routine that works for you. Figure out how you might help you wind down before bed. You may want to journal for a few minutes, read a book, do some deep breathing, lay and be still, pray, or listen to soft music. Whatever you choose to do, do the same thing every night before bed.
Make sleep a priority. Schedule life accordingly in order to be able to go to bed at a set time each night. Of course there will be times that you will go to bed later, but if you are going to bed at a set time most of the time, you will be so thankful and your body will be too.
Sleep is so important! Don’t miss out on how good you will feel when you get good sleep. Start with just one thing today to change your sleeping habits. Maybe you start with just the time you are going to bed. Get into a routine with that and then add another change. I encourage you to get started on this today. If you have questions or want accountability and coaching in making healthy lifestyle changes, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, I hope you sleep well.