We have all been there at least once in our life.
It’s nighttime, you have a thousand things to accomplish the next day and you need your sleep.
Yet, it’s midnight and you are wide awake.
You hear the clock ticking, as you fluff up your pillow for hundredth time…You close your eyes and start counting, hoping and wishing that by the time you get to 100 you will finally fall asleep and before you know it you’re watching the clock mentally counting down that if you fall asleep right now you’ll still get 6, 5, 4 hours of sleep.
The good news is you’re not alone as occasional insomnia affects one in three people and women are 1.4 times more likely to report insomnia than men.
If you think about our ever busy days, the multiple projects juggling in the air and the constant pull for us to be “on” at all times it’s no wonder many of us are having a struggle falling asleep at night.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.*
“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.” (*Source CDC)
The benefits of sleep impact nearly every area of daily life. While it may be obvious that sleep is beneficial, most people don’t realize how much sleep they need and why it is so important.
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating, drinking, and breathing.
So how do you regain the all-important rest?
Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day is ideal for your body, but obviously you’ll have some exceptions here and there. First figure out how much sleep your body needs (you may already know this). You can gauge this by how you are feeling throughout the day. If you stay tired for hours throughout the day, you are either getting too little or too much sleep.
Once you figure out the ideal number of hours you need, do your best to go to bed around the same time each night and set an alarm for the same time each morning. If it takes you a long time to fall asleep, you’ll need to adjust the time you go to bed, but drinking sleepy time tea or chamomile tea, and reading can help relax you. Looking at screens (cell phone, TV, iPad) is not beneficial for helping you fall asleep. If anything it is the perfect way to keep you up at night!
Did you know the blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm? Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. Most Americans admit to using electronics a few nights a week within an hour before bedtime. But to make sure technology isn’t harming your slumber, give yourself at least 30 minutes of gadget-free transition time before hitting the hay. Even better: Make your bedroom a technology-free zone—keep your electronics outside the room (that includes a TV!). (source: sleep.org)
Lavender spray on your pillow promotes relaxation, and certain plants in your bedroom can help too!
They increase oxygen levels, and purify the air making it easier for you to fall asleep. Aloe Vera, Jasmine, and Valerian plants are just a few that have restorative effects.
Sleep is important –it increases your energy and productivity, improves your heart and immune system health, puts you in a better mood, and promotes a longer life.
Try these simple changes and see how you feel.
Soon, your bedroom will become a sleep sanctuary and you will feel better than ever.