Jennifer Cares

Experiencing quality sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.  In fact, experts I’ve interviewed tell me we need to think about the elements of overall health and wellness in terms of a triangle with Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep as the equal points. Sleep specialists say seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults is ideal.  Getting less than 6 hours of sleep can have serious negative side effects to your health.

When we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t allow our bodies and brains to do what they’re set to do to ease the stress and strain of the day.  During good, healthy sleep, a growth hormone is released that helps with cell regeneration.  Our brains are able to work through tension through dreams.  Physically, our organs, and all systems of our body work to repair and restore themselves to get ready for another day.

All of us—especially caregivers need to make achieving quality sleep a priority! Here are some things you can think about and work on in ten minutes or less to set you up for a better night’s sleep…tonight!

1. Get into a routine: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time–even on weekends and holidays.

2.  Cut out naps:  Although research is showing that short (20 minute) naps can be beneficial during the day, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, avoid daytime naps until you get your nights settled.

3.  Exercise:  The endorphins released during even ten minutes of walking or stretching will help to relieve stress, and help you to wind down before bedtime.  Some experts suggest finishing your workout 2-3 hours before you go to bed.

4.  Watch what you eat and drink:  Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and a lot of liquids before bedtime.  Each makes the body work to process, making it harder for you to relax and sleep.

5.  Check the enviornment:  Make sure your bedroom is dark, keep electronics off or turn them so those little blinking lights don’t distract you.  Make sure your bed is comfortable.  Keep the room cool, which helps to promote deeper sleep.  Try scenting your pillowcase or sheets with lavender essential oil, known for it’s calming effect.

Keeping a bedtime journal can help, too. Psychologists say getting that to do list out of your head and onto paper gives you a feeling of brain freedom, and release that definitely helps with relaxation, and ultimately, better quality sleep.

Do any of these tips work for you?  Do you have any others you’d like to share?  Do you get enough sleep?



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