The importance of proper sleep and rest directly correlates to our mental health. If you’re suffering from lack of sleep due to insomnia or any other reason, the impacts can be detrimental to your overall well-being.
Going through periods of disrupted or poor sleep isn’t uncommon. After all, life differs day to day, with periods of stress and anxiety spiking as we navigate through the ebbs and flows of our life. However, it’s possible to get ahead of a sleepless cycle should you find yourself in one.
Why Does Good Sleep Hygiene Matter?
When we are experiencing disrupted sleep over and over again, the ability to regulate our emotions decreases. Being able to regulate our emotions is an essential skill that we use every day. Our emotional regulation influences our decisions, mood, focus, perspective, digestion and interactions with others.
According to an article from health.gov, when our bodies get enough sleep, it can prove beneficial in so many areas of our life, including: reducing day-to-day stress, enhancing focus, a healthier immune system, and more. We charge our electronic devices at night, right? So why don’t we also prioritize recharging ourselves, as well?
How to Implement Proper Sleep Habits
It’s no surprise that over the years overall sleep health has deteriorated significantly for many. We have never been more “connected” before as humans. We have 24 hour a day access to what’s happening around the world and social media feeds ping our brains with persistent activation. With natural disasters, pandemics, war, political unrest, and economic upheaval (just to name a few) on the rise it can be hard to shut our brains down even after the sun sets.
Thankfully, there are many steps we can take to turn the volume down on the noise in our bodies and brains in response to this cacophony of stimulation. It is possible to turn things around during those restless nighttime hours you find yourself tossing and turning. Even better, cultivating healthy habits in support of quality sleep can significantly improve your life.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 11 ways to enhance your overall sleep:
Walk for 10 minutes, 30 minutes after waking up around sunrise and then again at dusk (check out this podcast from Andrew Huberman)
Eat dinner early and avoid snacking for 2 hours before bedtime
Turn the heat way down in the house an hour before bed, so your room is cool when you get into bed
Take a hot shower 1 hour before bed
Put away screens at least an hour before bed, charge devices outside the bedroom
Dim lights or candle light for at least an hour before bed
Before bed, read a fluffy novel that has elements of fun and hope, you can use a book lamp or a red light to avoid disturbing your sleep (or your bed mate!)
Restorative Yoga (check out this blog post)
Four Elements (check out this blog post)
Take a few breaths and start to focus on a time you felt calm, good and at peace. Bring in the details: the sights, sounds, smells, sensations.
Now, are you finally ready for a better night's sleep?