Sleep plays a crucial role in helping stay in good mental and physical health, yet many people struggle with getting enough sleep. Adequate sleep helps regulate your metabolism, enhances your body’s ability to recuperate, removes toxins, burns fat and promotes brain health. It’s also a key ingredient in our emotional wellness and mental health, helping to decrease fatigue, beat back stress and anxiety and promote quality of life.
Experts are sounding the alarm about how insomnia is surging due to the pandemicpandemic (pan·dem·ic) : an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population : a pandemic outbreak of a disease., warning that “coronasomnia” is becoming a public health issue. One study found a 37% increase in the rates of clinical insomnia at the peak of the COVID-19COVID-19 \ ˈkō-vid-nīn-ˈtēn : a mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 of the genus Betacoronavirus), is transmitted chiefly by contact with infectious material (such as respiratory droplets), and is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure. pandemic. “We hear a great deal about the importance of exercising and good diet, but sleep is the third pillar of sustainable health,” said Charles M. Morin, Ph.D., considered one of the world’s leaders in the field of behavioral sleep. Read our article “Quality Sleep’s Role in Good Health” to learn about the science behind sleep and metabolism.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution designating Sept. 14-20 “National Student Sleep Health Week” to drive awareness of the importance of sleep for students of all ages, emphasizing that healthy sleep is associated with improved concentration, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.
The National Institutes of Health recommends adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night (more for teens and young adults); however a third of Americans sleep less than 7 hours per night. If snoring is an issue, consider getting a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea, a condition that can cause a strain on the heart and increased risk of stroke.
A first step in improving your sleep cycle is observing your sleep patterns to determine how much you sleep each night, what factors contribute to your sleep or lack of it and how rested you feel in the morning. After observing your sleep patterns for one to two weeks, try these tips for achieving better sleep.
8 Tips for Achieving Quality Sleep
Maintain a Sleep Schedule
Develop a sleep schedule, and stick to it, even on the weekends. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every night helps you fall asleep and stay asleep by regulating your body’s internal clock. Do some gentle stretches before bed. Skip long naps or napping past 3 p.m. If falling asleep or falling back to sleep is a problem, try getting up and doing something calming like reading or listening to soft music.
Create a Routine, Tune out Social Media
Create a relaxing sleep environment and try to keep your bedroom off limits during the day. Dim lights, minimize distractions, tune out social media, and consider turning on a fan, aromatherapy or a noise machine to help you get sleepy. For information on Good Medicine Choice Immushield Essential Oil Blend, please visit our shop to order online. (Shipping is free.)
Monitor Your Diet
Avoid stimulants such as caffeineA crystalline compound that is found especially in tea and coffee plants and is a stimulant of the central nervous system., sugar and nicotine six hours before bedtime, and try to skip heavy late-night meals. Because your digestive system also slows down during sleep, eating close to bedtime can increase triglyceride levels and put a strain on your heart.
Even a light amount of exercise throughout the day will help with falling asleep. Vigorous exercise is best, but try to avoid any heavy exercise within 6 hours of bedtime. For details on how exercise impacts your immune systemimmune system : the bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing the immune response and that includes especially the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies., see our blog “Exercise Revs up Your Immune System, Increases Resiliency.”
Consider Nighttime tea, Chamomile or Sleep Supplements
Make yourself a cup of chamomile or decaffeinated tea, or even hot water with lemon. There are a variety of sleep supplements that can help you capture a few more Z’s, such as melatonin, valerian root and CBD oil. Avoid green tea or other caffeinated drinks.
Practice Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
If your troubles are keeping you awake or your mind is too busy to rest, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, journaling or meditation before going to bed.
Maintain a Comfortable Bed
It might be time to upgrade to a new mattress. Most quality mattresses only last about nine or 10 years, so make sure that you are using a supportive and comfortable mattress to sleep on, comfortable pillows, lightweight blankets and a heavier blanket over your feet to maintain body temperature.
Make Time for ‘Rebound’ Sleep to Make up for Sleep Deficits
Everyone has a poor night of sleep on occasion, whether due to work obligations, social functions or a bout of insomnia. Build in time to recoup some make-up sleep by going to bed a little earlier (preferable) or scheduling your day to start a little later. Kelly Bulkeley, Ph.D., Director of the Sleep and Dream Database, says, “One of the most surprising findings of modern sleep science is the power of the ‘rebound effect.’ If we don’t get enough sleep one night, we tend to sleep extra long and deep the next night. This finding has useful implications for people in present-day society.”
Let us know which one of these tips worked for you, and sleep well!
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