Sleep knows many enemies - electronics, snoring, caffeine, pets , babies, having to use the washroom, general anxiety, loud neighbours…the list goes on. And even under perfect conditions, getting a good night’s sleep can still be tough. But experts agree that quality sleep is integral to achieving and maintaining physical and mental health. */** Here’s how to quit counting sheep and get a good night’s sleep.
Set up a Sleep Schedule
The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends sleeping between seven to nine hours every night to maintain good health. Anything less can stress the body and lead to a myriad of chronic health problems. Follow these quick and easy tips to help you plan ahead for bed:
Pick a Bedtime. It may seem juvenile, but sticking to a regular bedtime can help youfeel rested and wake up at the same time every day.*
Stick to the Program. Make time to sleep seven to nine hours every night. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you in the morning.
Nix the Nap. If you have trouble sleeping at night, don’t make up for it with naps or by sleeping in.*
Control your Sleep Environment
Although ideal conditions can’t guarantee a good night’s sleep, they can certainly up your chances of getting in some quality R.E.M. Here are some quick tips to help you hit the hay and stay there.
Power Down. Make sure your bedroom is dark and silent.* This means dimming the ever-alluring blue glow by turning off all electronic devices.
Keep it Cool. Adjust your thermostat, find a heavier/lighter blanket, put on pyjamas or take them off. Do whatever it takes to ensure the temperature is right for you.*
Reserve your bedroom for sleep.* We’re all tempted to bring work, TV and video games between the sheets, but it’s not worth it. Get that shuteye.
Free your Mind
…and the rest will follow. We’ve all lived the nightmare that is lying in bed anticipating that you won’t be able to sleep, and then actually not being able to sleep. Racing thoughts, anxieties about unfinished business, and all stressful thoughts about sleep problems can make them worse.* Here are some quick tips to help you let them go:
Relax. Do things that relax you at least one hour before bedtime. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends meditation, yoga, reading or a calm conversation with a loved one.
Abstain (from caffeine & alcohol). A coffee may seem tempting during a midday slump and a nightcap is always nice, but caffeine and alcohol can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Not to mention these substances can take four to six hours to leave your bloodstream.*
Let it Go. Hard as it may be, letting go of stressful thoughts is a learned behaviour and it takes practice. No time like the present.
Finally, always try to remember:
Taking care of others is wonderful.
Taking care of yourself is essential.
Caring for yourself is the first step to caring for others.