Who hasn't stayed up late, or gotten up a little earlier so you can get something extra done?
In most cases, missing a little sleep won't have a lasting effect, but sleep is important for your health, well-being, and you guessed it, your mood.
Not getting a good night sleep can impact your performance during the day, leaving you unfocused or even slower to react. Chronic lack of sleep can cause all sorts of health issues and even weight-gain, and who needs that? It can also lead to depression. In other words, not getting the sleep you need makes you feel bad.
On the flip side, making sure you get sufficient rest can help you feel more energized. You get more done which boosts your self-confidence and in turn your overall happiness. Making sure you get your beauty rest makes a lot of sense then.
I’m sure you’ve seen this in action. When we don’t sleep well, or don’t get a chance to get enough rest, we end up grumpy and agitated. Our stress levels go way up which in turn makes us feel worse. We don’t get our work done, we start to feel depressed and that in turn leads to more sleepless nights. It’s a vicious cycle.
If we can break that cycle and make sleep a priority on the other hand, everything changes for the better. We wake up in a great mood and ready to tackle the day. It’s easier to get work and chores done and still have time to relax and unwind. That in turn leads to a better night sleep and an even better morning.
The big question then is how do we get to this state of sleep-full bliss and a solid 8 hours of rest at night? We do it by making sleep a priority. Yes, there are times in our lives (like the arrival of a newborn, for example), when getting a good night’s sleep isn’t a possibility for quite some time, but for most of us, working on a reasonable bedtime routine is not that hard to achieve.
And routine is the keyword here. Good sleep is a habit and a learned behavior. It takes a little work on your part to change your habits and establish a good sleep and bedtime routine, but it will be well worth it. I promise.
Start by setting a regular bedtime and do your best to stick to it – even on the weekend and holidays. Our bodies get in a rhythm of waking and resting hours. Help your body get there by staying on schedule. Spend some time in the hours before bed relaxing so you can calm down. Years ago, I would occasionally cover a third shift for co-workers who were on vacation and I remember there was a point of the night, each night, that I was exhausted, not sure I could keep myself awake. But then when it was time to go home, I was wide awake. It would take me at least an hour after getting home to unwind enough to get any sleep at all.
If you want to get a good night's sleep, stop working before bed, don’t exercise too late in the day, avoid caffeine a few hours before bed, and turn off screens at least an hour before you’re ready to fall asleep. Turning down the lights, playing soft music, and reading an old-fashioned paper book are all great ways to relax and prepare both body and mind for sleep. Taking a warm bath or shower can help as well.
If you’re still having a hard time going to sleep after implementing a routine, consider supplementing with magnesium and /or melatonin. A lack of either one of those substances in your body can make it much harder to fall and stay asleep. Stick with your routine and you will get into a habit of getting plenty of sleep. That in turn will lead to happier, more energetic and more productive days.