It’s very important to get good sleep. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked. Many people don’t see sleep as an essential component of our health, but rather an inconvenience that can be avoided or ignored depending on the daily wants and needs of our life. Of course, not all of these reasons are self-serving or ignorant. Some people have to work two jobs to support their family, leaving them with five hours each day to restore themselves. Others might have a good amount of stress, pain, or other personal issues that prevent them from resting easily.
However, in all cases, it’s important to get the best sleep that you can. Sometimes, this means making intensive life changes. For most, it means understanding that sleep is both equal parts art and science, and worthy of the same effort that a varied and balanced diet deserves, or prioritized as much as drinking enough water in a day.
Thankfully, you don’t have to feel as though this is an insurmountable mountain. Let’s consider how you can improve your sleep habits at home, with regularity, and with love:
The best thing you can ever do for healthy sleep is to go to bed and to wake up at the same time every day. This can seem like quite a difficult task. Of course, none of us can predict what will happen during the evening, or if we’ll have a certain life task or event to see to before retiring to bed. Of course, inconsistencies take place from time to time. But it’s true that largely if you hope to sleep more easily at night, going to bed at the same time is essential.
If you can achieve this, then your body clock will begin working with you and not against you. Furthermore, after a few repeated efforts at heading to bed at the same time, you’ll be able to fall asleep much more quickly and much more easily. It doesn’t take months to achieve this, you can feel the results in a few days. Furthermore, this is conducive to waking up at the same time each day, which will often encourage a healthier morning, which will often help you feel less tired, lethargic, and inwardly annoyed that you have to get out of bed.
Naps can also benefit from regularity. Say you wake up at 5.30 am every day, and head to bed at around 10 pm. A 30-minute nap at 12 pm, when your baby has his/her own sleep, can be a great idea. It can rejuvenate you during the day. The regularity rule also applies here.
Children & Sleep
It’s very important to ensure your children are able to get good sleep, too. Not only will this help foster their healthiest mental and physical development, but it’ll become a rhythm you yourself can rely on. Now, it’s quite obvious that children sometimes have a more difficult time relaxing and being able to fall asleep. They’re bundles of energy, and never quite as worn out as us adults are. That said, it is possible to achieve the best sleep possible for them, but you have to impose those habits.
The absolute first responsibility you as a parent has is to ensure bedtime discipline. They must be put in bed at the same time every night. If they arise, they must be placed back down gently, and firmly told to get to sleep. We must be conscientious of course, but also, we must ensure they know what the standard is. You can achieve better results by following the best bedtime routines for toddlers and kids. A pre-bedtime schedule is also essential, such as brushing their teeth, reading them a story, and ensuring the temperature is right in their bedroom. Little efforts like this will slowly convince them to sleep more easily.
Of course, if your children are healthily sleeping, then oftentimes, you have the opportunity to as well.
A Sacred Space
It’s very important to consider your bedroom a sacred space. You’ll spend up to a third of your life here sleeping, so it’s important to invest in that. Think about how we invest in our cars. Most of us wish for the most comfortable and luxurious driving experience we can afford, but we spend a fraction of a time behind the wheel compared to the time we spend under our duvet.
Of course, all being well, we’re not exactly wakeful when in this area. But that doesn’t mean you deserve less than curating this space to the best of your ability. To start with, ensuring that your bedroom can get dark at night is important. This might not be so easy if you have city lights bleeding in, but with blackout curtains, an eye mask or just switching off your electronics, you’ll have a better chance.
Ventilation is also quite important. Without it, the stuffy air in your room can make it harder to fall asleep, and lower the quality of your nighttime breathing. For this, we would recommend locking a window in a ventilated position, purchasing an air filter (which can also serve as a white noise machine), and dusting each week. Of course, we’d also recommend taking the time to purchasing good bedding and wash it regularly. Many people talk about the wonders of memory foam mattresses and pillows, but comfortable, season-appropriate, and clean bedding is more than good enough. Also, make sure you and your partner have enough space to sleep.
You may have noticed that your smartphone and computing devices have ‘blue light’ features rolled out as standard right now. This isn’t an accident. It has become common knowledge that blue light, emitted from our devices, can simulate the blue light given by the sun. It affects our circadian rhythm with artificial light, telling our bodies it’s much brighter outside than we may realize. This can lead us to find sleeping more difficult in the long run. Sometimes, this can manifest itself as losing up to an hour of sleep a night as your body adjusts.
Thankfully, a simple solution exists. If you use the blue light filters on your devices, or download apps like Flux, you can ensure an amber-light glow is present on your screen in the midst of the evening. This helps naturally rest your eyes and prevents the device from keeping you up late at night. We would also recommend:
Before Bed Relaxation
You don’t have to have the stillest and calmest mind before heading to bed, but you do need to relax yourself and take the time to get yourself in this headspace. Some people play intensive video games or watch exciting Netflix dramas before bed, and that can mean added time spent needing to unwind before ‘hitting the hay,’ so to speak.
Before bed relaxation is often helped by disconnecting from these devices, from avoiding repeatedly scrolling your Twitter feed, from spending some time in meditation, or simply relaxing. Reading is also wonderful for this too, as it can be relaxing and it also takes a focused, concentrated effort that can actually feel quite tiring at the end of the day. Make sure not to read on your phone of course, as the light here is also quite enlivening. Paper or specific e-reader lighting is more appropriate. Of course, try not to read horror or overly thrilling stories before bed. You understand why.
Of course, sometimes your sleep-related issues are medical by nature. If you feel as though chronic insomnia is getting the better of you, or if you feel like you’re unable to unwind even after applying all of the above methods and trying your very best, you may need medical help.
The aid given to you can vary. Some doctors prefer to suggest herbal remedies in mild cases, some will provide you with sleeping pills, others can refer you to specialists that will work more deeply into how your sleeping problems have become so tangled. No matter what, this effort will help you feel better about heading to bed at night. Addressing the problem can sometimes be all the encouragement you need to finally give up the ghost and fall asleep light a log each night.
We all have personal needs to attend to when trying to fall asleep. For instance, a pregnant woman may need to use a full-size curved body pillow to help rest her stomach and feel comfortable at night.
It might be that you have an injury, and using light bedding that doesn’t harm you is important in this capacity. You may simply need to have a talk with your partner to suggest that after a long and heavy workday, intimacy comes second to great sleep. Don’t be afraid to express your needs where sleep is concerned, you would certainly be vocal and forceful if deprived of water. Sleep is just as important.
With this advice, we hope you can achieve the best sleep you can. You deserve it. Falling asleep is one of the beautiful joys life grants us, so don’t take it for granted. And with this effort, you too will see this process as equal parts art and science.
About the Author
This article is written by a contributing author.
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