When we think about health, we often think about disease control, weight, or maybe even wellness. One of the few things that will affect all these areas is sleep. If we make sleep a priority, we will find that it not only affects health, but will start to create optimal wellness.
Sleep research has found that sleep deprivation contributes to multiple issues such as dementia, colon cancer, and diabetes. Not to mention the daily issues of poor memory, fatigue and the lack of focus that can keep a person from reaching their goals.
So how do we improve our sleep and improve our health? Many people believe that they are short sleepers and only need to sleep 5 to 6 hours a night. This, however, is not true. The average person needs 7 to 8 hours. Younger people need even more. But like learning anything else, we need to train our body to sleep. Our brains work like computers and needs a routine to tell us what to do. They want to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. They like to do the same thing before we go to sleep. That means we need to create a sleep routine. It needs to be between 20 and 40 minutes long, and it needs to be personalized so that we are comfortable with it. The following are some suggestions for creating a personal sleep routine.
- Lowering the lights in the room will allow our brains to start producing the chemicals needed to fall asleep.
- Cool down the house. Our body temperatures dip when we are asleep, and the cooler temperatures help us to sleep better. If you get cool, try warm socks and pajamas.
- Do something to help unwind. It can be meditation, yoga, reading something to help aid in relaxation or anything that does not include computers, cell phones or television.
- Take a warm shower or bath. The body will cool down afterward telling the brain that it is time to sleep.
- Create a hygiene routine. When the same thing is done every night before going to sleep, the brain will recognize when it is bedtime.
- Give up that before bedtime drink. Alcohol may make us fall asleep faster, but it will disrupt sleep later in the night.
Remember a routine needs to be personal so do what works for you. Just remember that it should be done every day at the same time and you should wake up every day at the same time. Routines are what allow the computer that is our brain to work optimally and contribute to our overall health.
I hope this information has been helpful. I have a new 12 week Sleep program that discusses all of the issues you may be having with sleep including weekly guides, workbooks, videos, audios and more. Check it out at: My New 12 Week Sleep Program.