There is nothing in this world like some nice long restorative sleep. Great sleep keeps us alert during the day. It helps us remain alert. It helps improve our memory. It evens helps us lose weight and prevent cancer. Sleep is not to be underrated.
For much of human history, we more or less went to bed shortly after nightfall and awoke with the rising sun. With the advent of electricity and the light bulb we are staying up much later, and therefore we need the help of another electronic device, the alarm clock, to help us get up in the morning.
We can do a lot to improve our sleep and thereby improve our health in general.
Not many people realize that sleep is more a habit then anything. The time you go to bed, the time you wake up, and the total amount of time you sleep is highly trainable. People have all kinds of different sleep habits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set up a good solid sleep routine. Go to bed the same time every night, have the same pre-bedtime ritual.
It is also good to consider what type of person you are. While it may be slightly difficult to find out for certain, there are people who are definitely early risers, and people who are definitely late risers. It comes down to two hormones in your body. Cortisol is what helps you become truly alert after you wake up in the morning, and Melatonin is what helps you to feel relaxed enough at night to go to bed. Each of these is based off your circadian rhythm.
It is good to experiment a little and see when your optimum hours of sleep are. Some are better off going to bed later, some are better off going to bed earlier. Some need a little more sleep and some need less, but most people do well on 7-8 hours a sleep a night.
Some other ways to help yourself get better sleep at night is to avoid any kind of excessive stimulation. Exercise, large meals, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, bright lights, especially the ones coming from your computer screen, all prevent your body from relaxing enough so that you can go to sleep.
Reading a book, making your bedroom quiet and dark, and lowering the temperature to 65 degrees are all ways to help you get better sleep at night.
There are many tips and tricks to getting a good night sleep, but it is mostly about becoming relaxed and going to bed when your body tells you it is time to go to bed.
Speaking of bed, I think my pillow is calling me right now. Here is to a good night’s sleep! 🙂
This is our 5th challenge in The Personal Health Challenge Series…