When I don’t get enough sleep, I’m a nightmare to be around. I own that.
I just don’t function well without it. Some people are better at handling a little fatigue- I unravel. I’m one of those adults that still enjoys a regular bedtime. Having a regular sleeping routine is actually something that helps establish better quality sleep! Before you dash through the local coffee shop for your daily jolt, consider why you’re feeling tired in the first place:
1. too much screen time
Do you spend your whole day on your computer, smartphone, and then in front of a television? The lights from all of these devices play tricks with our brains, making it harder to fall asleep. Some studies show that sleeping in a perfectly dark room actually improves the restful quality of sleep (and even calorie burn). Aside from physically preventing your brain from sleeping, your electronic use is most likely getting your wheels spinning. If you’re thinking about the plot to an intense movie or planning a meeting for work, it can definitely be harder to drift off to sleep. My advice? Try to avoid electronics for at least an hour before bedtime. If you wake up in the middle of the night, try walking around your house for a minute or even reading- NOT watching tv.
2. that glass of wine
Or beer, or a cocktail. I know what you’re thinking: but alcohol relaxes me! True, alcohol does slow down the body and temporarily inhibit stressors. The problem becomes when you fall asleep while that alcohol is still being digested. While a nightly drink may help you fall asleep, odds are you won’t stay asleep and the quality of sleep you’re getting isn’t up to par. Something about having that alcohol floating around your system prevents us from slipping into the deepest more restoring kind of sleep (REM sleep). If you like getting your antioxidants from a nightly adult beverage, try to do so closer to dinner time so that your body has broken it down long before bedtime.
3. you’re stressed
Not earth shattering, but true. When you’ve got a lot going on, it can definitely be hard to shut off your mind and sleep. We also tend to sleep more fitfully during the night when we have stress on our subconscious. Try making a list or keeping a planner, this way you can write down what’s on your brain and no longer feel responsible for keeping it on repeat in your mind. Sometimes it’s also helpful to work a little more activity into your lifestyle during times of stress. Not only will you create endorphins (happy chemicals!) in your brain, but you’ll be more inclined to sleep restfully at night.
Why is getting your solid 8-10 hours of sleep so important?
- your brain chemicals reset so you can better manage stressors and feel happier
- if you aren’t getting enough energy from sleep, you’re prone to compensate by overeating
- some short term memories get converted into long term, so you’ll feel smarter
- longevity: people who sleep better tend to lead healthier lives and live longer!