Getting a good sleep plays a significant role in our health and coping ability, if we manage our sleep hygiene we will increase our overall happiness.
Ah, coveted sleep. Remember those teenage years when you could sleep until noon? Sleep is so important to your overall well-being and is directly tied to how you are able to cope with stress. ‘Clean Up Your Sleep Hygiene’ is a Self-Management strategy that should not be overlooked! The amount of sleep we actually get and need varies with each individual. Some people boast about how little sleep they get and how much they can accomplish in a day, while others will tell you how much sleep they must get to manage their day. The actual amount of sleep needed is dependent upon several things like the quality of our sleep, our age and if we are feeling sleep deprived. Here’s the thing, sleep is as important to us as food and water. Regardless of how much sleep one needs compared to others, one thing is for sure; getting good sleep plays a significant role in our health and coping ability and overall happiness.
How much sleep do we actually need to stay healthy?
Adults require seven to nine hours of sleep every day and older adults aged 65 and above can function best if they sleep for seven to eight hours a day. Sleep patterns change as one gets older. Older adults are generally light sleepers and take short naps rather than sleep for long hours.
As I get to know my clients it becomes evident how sleep patterns affect their functionality. When you arrive at work unrested or go through a series of poor nights rest your ability to effectively deal with the many challenges or conflicts that arise significantly decreases. Even one sleepless night can make us tired and irritable the following day. We may have difficulty concentrating, staying
Sometimes we can’t sleep because we are anxious or have trouble shutting down our minds. ‘Sleep hygiene’ is often overlooked but when it is considered, it can have life-changing results! When we put our kids to bed it was often a routine of a bath, read them a book or listen to music – not often could you tell them to go to sleep right from play mode and expect them to fall asleep within 10 minutes. So why do we expect that of ourselves? It’s difficult to go from fully engaged, to shut down instantly. Sleep hygiene consists of routines or habits that promote more restful and restorative sleep.
Health Issues Associated with Poor Sleep Hygiene
The key to having a balanced mind is the quality of your sleep, and good sleep hygiene equals quality sleep. If you are not getting restful sleep on a regular basis, you are putting yourself at risk for numerous health issues and medical conditions including:
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Cognitive impairment
- Memory loss
- Chronic stress
- Heart arrhythmia
- Increased likelihood of accidents
- Mood disorders
Benefits to Cleaning Up Your Sleep Hygiene
The benefits of cleaning of your sleep hygiene are worth it! Patience, flexibility, and alertness are the first things to go when we don’t get a good night’s sleep. Our brains need to recharge and store or discard memories from the day so that we can wake up feeling rested and ready for another day. Consider the following steps to assist in good sleep hygiene:
- Get twenty minutes of morning sunlight
- Turn off the computer at least one hour before bedtime
- Keep your bed for sleeping
- Avoid caffeine, especially in the evening
You can setup an ultimate sleep environment by keeping:
- Electronics out of the bedroom
- Your room dark, quiet and cool
- Your bed as comfortable as possible
Living fast past lives is what I call the “drive-by life phenomenon”. It is one of the biggest contributors to poor sleep hygiene When you consider how important your waking hours are it makes perfect sense to ensure that you take care of your mind, body, and spirit by ensuring you get the best quality of sleep possible.