April is Stress Awareness Month. But, if you are anything like me, you don’t need a special month to remind you that you’re stressed. I’m aware. So I started to research the link between how we take care of our bodies and stress. Which brought me to sleep. Ahhh sleep. I do love the sound of that. Having a 2 and 4 year old, there are times it feels like I haven’t actually slept in about…hmm…4 years. Though I know that’s not true, sometimes my body begs to differ.
It turns out that sleep and stress have formed a pretty strong bond over the years. In fact, the two have a direct impact on each other on a daily basis. The more we can find ways to lower our stress levels, the better we will sleep, and vice versa.
On a personal note, I feel the affects of sleep deprivation in many different ways. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking around in a fog which takes away from my focus. Physically, I get headaches. And on more than one occasion, I have equated the way my body feels to being hit by a truck (although I don’t know what that feels like).
It’s true that lack of sleep comes with the territory of being a young mom, but it is definitely not limited to that specific group. I believe it’s an epidemic that is causing problems across the board.
Exhibit A: Little miss Annabelle has been struggling to find her sleep balance the past few months. Hence, the impromptu nap during a bike ride with daddy.
So, where does that leave us? Now that we know how detrimental improper sleep habits can be, how do we start to fix the problem? For me, all of the advice and articles can become a bit overwhelming. That’s where today’s post comes in. I’ve narrowed down a lot of the advice and articles I’ve read to a few simple steps that will have you well on your way to peaceful sleep.
Tip #1: Quality Over Quantity
That takes the pressure off. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Even if I am not able to get a lot of sleep, it’s helpful knowing that if I can log 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep, I will feel the benefit. Granted, the uninterrupted part is something we’re working towards in our house.
Tip #2: Consistency is Key
As with most things in life, if it’s going to be worthwhile, like I believe a solid sleep life is, then it’s going to take some effort and follow through. Avoiding sleep deficit, or the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep, is huge. Sticking to a consistent schedule will help decrease the deficit.
Tip #3: Plan Your Routine
What you do and eat close to bedtime matters. Steer clear of sugar, including wine, at least an hour, if not two before lights out. Also, turning off all electronics an hour before bed will help your body transition into a state of general sleepiness.
A good way to clear your mind before bed is to write a to do list. Let future you take care of all unfinished tasks.
Tip #4: Control Your Environment
It’s imperative to create an ideal sleeping environment. The darker the better. Get rid of all light no matter how small. I suggest investing in a quality eye mask, which also happens to come in handy on long flights. Additionally, having the right pillow, mattress, and sheets is important for your comfort level.
Tip #5: Manage Your Time
Timing is everything. Do your best to go to bed and wake up around the same time. Yes, even on the weekend. I know, I know, boo…hiss. Trust me, it helps. It’s important to set your body’s internal clock.
Tip #6: Naps
Taking the occasional nap is good for you. I’m aware that it’s not always possible to drop what you’re doing to curl up and head to dreamland, but, even a 10 minute break to close your eyes and quiet your mind can be the pick-me-up you need to face the rest of your day. To show just how important a well placed nap can be the folks at Casper have come up with this Napping 101 guide.
Until next time, I hope this information helps you get the rest you deserve. Now, close your laptop or power off your iPhone and grab some shut eye.
I wish you all a productive and restful week!
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