You’ve probably heard all of your lifetime that, “sleep is important.” Yes, sleep is paramount in the functioning of your body, but just how essential is it? I have been paging through some prime articles out there, and realized that sleep has become pretty cool lately. Did you know that there is a “Sleep movement” sweeping the country? This particular organization is literally laying down comfy mats and handing out their complimentary pj’s, in order for college students to get their necessary Zzz’s. Goodness, that sure sounds nice. Furthermore, I sometimes forget to put sleep in the category of necessity. Do you do this too? I am hoping to shed some light on a few flawless bedtime hacks, so you will learn to enjoy your sleep (stop counting sheep) and easily await its arrival each night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, and Huffington Post Online, there are some hourly guidelines for the perfect bedtime routine. It is recommended to stop drinking caffeine 6 hours before bed, and finish exercising and eating at least 2 hours before your head hits the pillow. This means you should maybe consider putting down that large bowl of popcorn you’ve been munching on each night at 11 pm. Electronics are recommended to be turned off, and all work to be stopped, an hour before bedtime. This should provide your body with a natural unwinding. According to the Huffington Post, doing these simple tricks will ensure you have your best possible sleep.
Scoping out Health Online, they recommend 7 simple tricks to improve your sleeping habits. One of the first items is avoiding all sorts of caffeine before bed. Joan Salge Blake, RD, a clinical associate professor at Boston University, recommends ceasing all caffeine around 2 O’clock in the afternoon. She also recommends checking the labels on your favorite drinks to make sure you’re not drinking access caffeine that you are unaware of. Is your stomach growling before bed? Blake says “some foods may actually help you snooze.” Although it is usually recommended you avoid a large meal before bed, she recommends a light snack of cottage cheese, yogurt and granola, or a small bowl of pasta with chicken. Do you like to take a shower or bath before bed? Making that a habit can actually hinder your sleep cycle because it heats up your overall body temperature, making it harder to cool down before bed. It is recommended that you take your night time soak a couple hours before bed, so your body temperature has time to decrease.
The National Sleep Foundation examines all angles of sleep disorders, and has come up with many tips that could improve your sleep each night, and leave you feeling rested. NSF prescribes a “bedtime routine” to solve some of your sleep issues. Find the perfect bedtime routine that works for you, and then stick with it (and not just for a few nights). It is important to try and go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up around the same time as well. Make sure your routine is calm, and helps you unwind from your day. Practicing bedtime yoga or stretching can also be a good idea, as long as it keeps your heart rate low and doesn’t cause you any kind of unneeded stress.
In all seriousness do whatever routine feels most comfortable to you, but keep in mind the importance of sleep. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute stresses that, “sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It is forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Studies show that a good night’s sleep improvise learning…and also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.” Who knew that sleep could have such an impact on our overall well being? “Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke,” says NIH. As you can see, your body longs for a good night’s sleep.
Finally, it may be concluded that all forms of sleep are a great necessity. I hope you have realized how your body needs a good night’s rest in order to function properly. I encourage you to even research further and discover what your favorite nighttime rituals could be- there are so many different options. Good day, and good night!