A little more on sleep.

I was still reading about my sleep challenge this week late last night and wanted to share this with you.

Problems Associated with Insufficient Sleep

Short Term:

  1. Mental and physical health problems
  2. Irritability & moodiness
  3. Decreased attention span
  4. Fatigue & headaches

Long Term:

  1. Slowed metabolism (possible weight gain or diabetes)
  2. Increased blood pressure
  3. Heart rhythm irregularities
  4. Impaired memory
  5. Depression
  6. Increased susceptibility to health problems

So getting sufficient, quality sleep actually seems to be pretty serious business.  My reading led me to several good tips to ensure you get a solid 7 – 8 hrs of sleep every night.

Roadmap For Success

  1. Prioritise getting 7 – 8 hrs sleep every night
  2. Optimize your sleep environment:
    1. Lighting – avoid bright lights.  Kirt likes the blinds open so the sun wakes her in the morning but I get the moon in my face sometimes and notice it’s harder to sleep.
    2. Sound – isolate your bedroom from a lot of noise or if you can’t consider a white noise generator.  I’ve always needed a fan on for the noise it makes as much as the breeze.
    3. Linens and Sleepwear – use quality linens on your bed and comfortable, non restrictive sleepwear.  Kirt and I LOVE our bed.  We have 1200 thread count egyptian cotton sheets (on sale at Target periodically) and it makes a real difference.  I’m a nudey rudey so nothing to get tangled in.
    4. Temperature – not too hot, not too cold.  You get the picture.
    5. Humidity – same goes here.  There are machines to add moisture to the air if too dry although that’s not such a problem here in Qld, we need the dehumidifier to take moisture out of the air.  I hate the feel of the bed when it’s been raining for days on end.  Yuck
  3. Develop a Sleep Schedule – sound sleep needs to be predictable and repetitive.  Go to sleep and wake up at the same time.  This was new information for me.  I’ve been moving my bed and waking times around heaps lately and have noticed feeling tired when waking.
  4. Time Exercise Wisely – not too close to your bed time.
  5. Create a Bedtime Ritual – some suggestions, listen to soothing and relaxing music, dim the lights to a low level to signal the brain it’s time to wind down, write a to-do list for the next day so your mind can relax.
  6. Avoid Sleep Inhibitors – avoid substances late in the day that stimulate the brain.  Think caffeine, sugar etc.  As a suggestion, avoid these substances after 2:30pm, monitor your responses.  This got me although Kirt’s pretty good at not having coffee in the afternoon.  Sugar’s her Achiles heel here.
  7. Limit Alcohol – although it often relaxes and helps us to fall asleep it will disrupt your sleep patterns and hinder your ability to sleep.  It keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep, depriving you of the valuable REM and deeper, more restorative stages of sleep.
  8. Smoking.  Simple… Don’t.
  9. Eating – finish eating about 2hrs before bedtime.
  10. Fluids – best to avoid lots of liquid 2 -3 hrs before bed or you risk having to run to the loo in the middle of the night.  Get your fluids in early is the trick.

Good luck with your improved sleep.  I know I’ve got a few things to work on.

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