How did you sleep last night?
Did you wake up well-rested and energized? Or, are you feeling tired and groggy? Did you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
The American Sleep Association (ASA) recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults. But, we definitely have trouble getting our zzzz’s in each night. The ASA estimates that sleep problems affects up to 70 million American adults!
Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Study after study tells us how sleep deprivation causes us to eat more, shrinks our brains, can cause false memories, and is linked to type 2 diabetes.
Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture, and yet often, we willingly sleep too little or continue bad habits that stop us from getting good sleep.
It really is our ethical responsibility to get plenty of sleep and rest. Our teams, colleagues, organizations, and our families need us to be at our best, to be able to think clearly, and make sound decisions. Lack of sleep can deeply compromise our decision-making ability and mood.
But, despite the best of intentions there are times when getting the recommended 7-9 hours just doesn’t happen. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel possible (this pile of laundry is blocking the path to my bed and I can’t sleep until it’s done) or it’s totally out of our control (my toddler needs water….again).
In today’s video I share three things you can do to get better sleep tonight, even on the nights when it’s less than you would like.
1. Sleep in Complete Darkness
Melatonin is a hormone that rises at night and helps us go to (and stay) asleep. However, it is very light sensitive. For it to rise and be effective, your surroundings have to be completely dark. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark so that melatonin can do its job. Turn off night-lights, cover lights from electronics, and get room-darkening shades. If you need a night-light, choose one with a red bulb. Red light does not interfere with melatonin production.
2. Unplug Before Bed
Remember that little hormone melatonin we just talked about? Well, staring at a computer or your phone before bed also obstructs melatonin from rising properly. Your bedtime Facebook scrolling could be the cause for your sleepless night! Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed to get your body ready for sleep. Instead, read a book, do some stretching, or enjoy a cup of tea. Next, get a real alarm clock. You know, the kind you plug into the wall and has numbers on it? They still sell those antiques at most stores! That way you don’t have to use your phone as an alarm clock. Instead, charge it overnight in a different room so you’re not tempted to check your email and compromise your melatonin production.
3. Create a Comfortable Bed and Bedroom
Your bed should be a place that you look forward to relaxing and sleeping in. If there is something about your bed or bedroom that is uncomfortable, then change it. Is your mattress old and uncomfortable? Are your sheets too hot or too cold? Maybe your pillows are lumpy or too flat.
Be sure to watch the video where I share how changing our blankets has helped me and my husband sleep so much better!
I want to hear from you! Do you have any tricks for getting a good night’s sleep? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!
Tanya McCausland is the COO at Diamond6 Leadership and a Holistic Nutrition Consultant. She is board certified by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and teaches executive wellness to leaders at all levels.