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What is Sleep Hygiene?
Do you toss and turn before falling asleep? Do you wake up because you need to use the bathroom or for some other reason? Or maybe the kids or your pets wake you up early.
Some of the reasons you aren’t getting enough sleep may be unavoidable. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep regularly, and children need even more. Practicing good sleep hygiene is paramount when it comes to getting enough quality sleep every night.
You may be wondering what sleep hygiene is and how it can help you sleep better. Sleep hygiene encompasses how we prepare ourselves physically and mentally for sleep. Physical activity, bedroom environment, and certain foods all play a role. Practicing good sleep hygiene promotes the duration and quality of our sleep.
So make sure you practice good sleep hygiene. It will help you not only get more sleep but better-quality sleep as well.
Why is it Important?
Getting good quality sleep and falling asleep at night is easier when we practice good sleep hygiene. Getting a good night’s rest allows your body and brain to repair and recharge themselves. Everything from your muscles to your brain is repaired with adequate sleep.
If you are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, you are setting yourself up for health problems. You could be at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and depression just to name a few. When your system doesn’t have a chance to renew itself you may also be more susceptible to viruses. After this past year dealing with COVID-19, I don’t think any of us want to take that chance.
How Much Do I Need?
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Children need varying amounts at different stages of their lives. The Center for Disease Control breaks down their recommendations on their website.
7 Reasons You Need Your Shut-Eye
This is one of my favorite reasons to get enough sleep. Who would have thought that sleeping can help you lose weight? Not me. But it’s true. Getting adequate sleep helps keep your hormone levels in balance. Lack of sleep causes the hormone ghrelin to increase. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. And when you are hungry, you are less apt to stick to your diet. You may even overeat. Yikes! So, do yourself a favor, and make sure to get at least 7 hours every night.
14 Painless Ways to Burn Calories & Lose Weight
Anxiety, depression, and stress are not uncommon today. Recent protests, the economy, and the pandemic have all added to our stress levels.
Sleeping gives our hearts a break because it doesn’t need to work as hard which, in turn, helps to lower blood pressure. When our blood pressure is lower, our stress and anxiety levels are lower as well. On the other hand, higher blood pressure, stress, and anxiety levels can be attributed to poor sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.
Meditation and yoga are also great ways to reduce stress.
15 Effective Ways to Manage Stress
Easily Relieve Stress with Meditation
15 Exceptional Reasons to Try Yoga
Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases
Sleeping can lower your risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Lack of sleep causes a reduction in insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance makes it harder for your body to use insulin properly which can increase your blood glucose levels. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases when your blood glucose levels are high. Therefore, if you are getting good quality sleep most nights, it can help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Many risk factors can be attributed to developing heart disease. One such factor is high blood pressure. When you sleep, your blood pressure naturally lowers. When your blood pressure declines, so does your risk of developing heart disease.
Better Frame of Mind
When our hormones are out of balance, it can cause us to feel less like ourselves than we would if our hormones were acting the way they should. Sleeping gives your body a chance for your hormones to be adjusted back to normal levels. When our hormone levels are normal, it helps us to feel normal. We wake to feel refreshed with a more positive outlook.
People who don’t get enough sleep, are at risk of developing mental health issues such as depression. Conversely, mental health disorders can cause poor sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, I recommend that you talk to your health care professional right away. They can help determine the best course of action.
Let’s Your Body Repair Itself
When you sleep, your body is hard at work. Not only are stress and hormone levels adjusted, but your body also undergoes repairs as well. Damaged tissues are replaced with new tissue and blood vessels are repaired too. Hormones released during sleep slows breathing and relax muscles which can reduce inflammation to promote healing. Everything from illnesses to sore muscles to injuries heals faster with sleep. So, if you are not feeling well, take the time to get some extra sleep to expedite your recovery.
White blood cells form while you are sleeping. White blood cells are important when it comes to fending off viruses and bacteria. The higher amount of white blood cells you have in your body, the higher your immunity from infections. We need even more protection right now thanks to COVID-19. Although many of us have been vaccinated, there are no guarantees. Give yourself an extra boost of immunity by getting your ZZZs.
Sleeping helps clear the clutter in your brain. It helps irradicate any unnecessary information to make more room for the important stuff. When you are sleeping, your short-term memories are transformed into long-term memories. This is important because our long-term memories are necessary to store and retrieve information. Sleeping also affects learning, concentration, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
If you get an inadequate amount of sleep or it is of poor quality, you may be suffering from sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can be caused by work schedules, lifestyle choices, poor sleep hygiene, or sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or insomnia. Insomnia and sleep deprivation are not the same thing, however. While people with insomnia have difficulty falling and staying asleep, sleep deprivation is most often attributed to time constraints.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
Good sleep hygiene is a must when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. If you typically have trouble falling asleep, try adopting a few new habits.
Follow the same schedule for going to bed at night and waking up in the morning (yes, even on the weekends). Consistency of your wake time and bedtime not only helps you fall asleep faster at night, but it also makes it easier for you to wake up in the morning. If you are a night owl that has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, try adjusting your schedule gradually by going to bed a ½ hour earlier and waking up ½ hour earlier. Even a 15-minute adjustment is a good start.
A useful tip that I have learned is to set an alarm for bedtime. I have it set 10 minutes prior to the time I want to be in bed which gives me time to wash my face, brush my teeth, etc. The bedtime alarm serves as a reminder to start my nighttime routine.
Practicing healthy habits during the day helps us to fall asleep at night. Exercise and a healthy diet are two good habits when it comes to the ability to sleep well. We should also limit our intake of alcohol and caffeine and refrain from smoking.
Try to get outdoors whenever possible. Sunlight helps keep your circadian rhythm in check. In other words, you should be awake during daylight hours, and sleepy at night.
The proper bedroom environment will not only help you fall asleep but improve the quality of sleep as well. Make sure your bedroom is inviting, cool and quiet. Having comfortable bedding helps set the stage for a peaceful slumber. Also, make sure the temperature in your bedroom is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Your core body temperature drops at night which conveys to your brain that it is time to sleep. Keeping the temperature in your bedroom cooler will promote drowsiness. Additionally, make sure it is quiet. If necessary, wear earplugs, turn on a fan or use a white noise machine.
Many people enjoy reading or watching television in bed. This is not a good idea. Your bedroom should only be a place to sleep (or to have sex). This helps your brain to realize that when you enter your bedroom, it is time for sleep.
Lighting is important as well. Less light activates melatonin production, the hormone which helps you fall asleep. Blue light from computers, tablets, and cell phones lowers the production of melatonin. It is also mentally stimulating. Therefore, you should shut down all electronics at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime to prompt melatonin production.
Signs of Poor Sleep Hygiene
Your body may try to send you signals that it is time to develop better sleep hygiene practices. Some signs may include:
- Tiredness during the day
- Trouble falling asleep
- Waking during the night
- Lack of energy
- Cranky, irritable
- Inability to focus
If you are practicing good sleep hygiene but consistently have many of these symptoms, it may be time to seek the advice of your healthcare provider.
Maybe you did sleep but you still feel tired. The possibility exists that there could be other issues such as a sleeping disorder. Insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep apnea, and narcolepsy are just a few examples. The Sleep Foundation is a great resource for information pertaining to sleep disorders.
If you are having trouble falling asleep or if you wake during the night, there are a few things you should try.
Before you turn in for the evening, try some yoga or take a warm bath. This can help you to relax your mind and body. Add some lavender oil to your bath. Lavender is used by many people as a natural sleep aid. And it smells good too!
When you can’t seem to shut your brain off, try meditating. Meditation can help clear your mind and relax your body so you can fall asleep. If meditation is not for you, try keeping your journal next to your bed and jot down what is on your mind and then forget about it until the next day. Your notes will be there for you to look at in the morning.
Journaling-13 Huge Reasons You Need Start
If you are unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and go to another room. Do something relaxing like some gentle stretching or reading until you feel like you can fall asleep. Avoid reading on your phone or tablet or watching television.
Try to avoid napping. But if you feel like you need a nap during the day, keep it short (around 20 minutes) and not too late in the afternoon.
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Good sleep hygiene leads to better quality sleep which allows your body and brain to repair and recharge themselves. Everything from your muscles to your brain is repaired with the proper amount of rest. Lower your odds of developing heart disease, diabetes, and depression with the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night. It is essential to your overall health and wellness. Your entire system will function more efficiently.
Even if you are getting 7-9 hours every night, sleeping always sounds so inviting, doesn’t it?
I invite you to share any thoughts in the comments below.
And, be sure to share this on social media.
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19 thoughts on “7 Compelling Reasons to Get Adequate Sleep”
A peaceful sleep is important to maintain a good health. I have also written a similar post if anyone of you feels insomniac and are looking for ways to sleep fast .
Sleep is essential. Love the tip about setting an alarm before going to bed.
lately I’m having trouble sleeping 😅
So I woke up later than usual
Thank you for this very informative and useful post.
My bedtime and sleeping patterns tend to be all over the place. After learning more about the benefits I have to try harder at creating a schedule.
Your tips are very helpful to achieve that goal!
Fantastic and informative post. It had not occurred to me that sleeping could help you lose weight!
didn’t know these things! Weight loss is definitely something that motivates me to get to bed early 🙂 thank you so much for sharing
I am all for any little thing that helps take off or maintain weight. Sleep is such an easy way to help.
Getting enough sleep at night is so important. I love taking naps if I need more sleep. I feel like it helps my anxiety and stress. I feel like its way I can get away from everything and just relax.
Sleep can really help with stress and anxiety. Naps are awesome!
Sleep is so important! I feel best when I get around 7.5 to 8 hours a night, but I hate to go to bed early. Fortunately I’m retired now so can sleep in a bit more.
Thank you for sharing. I feel better with 7.5 hours of sleep as well.
I love your tip about setting an alarm 10 minutes before you want to be in bed. What a great tip to ensure you can take care of all your nightly routines and still get into bed around the same time each night.
Thanks! It really does help.
thanks for this reminder, I have set an alarm in my phone to remind me atleast 30 mins. so I can condition my mind and body to sleep.
I’m glad you are going to give this a try.
So happy you mentioned the tip for night owls because I can stay up till late and work more productively then, so the very practical tip to ease into sleeping earlier is great for me to try.
I would love to know if it works for you.
This blog is very insightful, and reminded me that I should take proper rest starting now. I will try the yoga and warm bath before sleeping! Thank you for this x
Thank you for your input. I would love to hear what works for you.