Sleep Is A Bigger Issue Than We Realize
As a rule, we as Americans greatly undervalue sleep. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, “Sleep is the most under-appreciated health crisis in America.” Dr. Oz helped gather information from a whopping 20,000 Americans to survey the current state of Americans’ sleep health. His findings suggest that sleep is vastly neglected by a number of US citizens: 79% of Americans get less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
It’s tempting to think that sleep is luxury--that it’s our last priority when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. What many do not realize, however, is that lack of sleep may be negating the health benefits of exercise. Stanford University conducted a study where they observed the impact of sleep on athletic performance. They found that a small group of athletes performed measurably better over a 3-week period when allowed to sleep longer. They demonstrated faster sprint times, lower heart rate, greater endurance and an overall improved workout. One thing is clear: we cannot sacrifice our sleep and expect to get the most out of our fitness routine.
Sleep Quality Is Also A Challenge For Many
If getting a good night’s sleep were simply a matter of crawling in bed earlier, then perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult for so many people. However, for many Americans it’s not that simple. Not only are we not getting enough sleep, a huge percentage of the US struggles with poor sleep quality or nonrestorative sleep. Essentially what this means is that even though many people get enough hours of sleep, they still wake up feeling unrefreshed, unrested or maybe even like they haven’t been to bed at all. That is a serious problem.
How To Regain Your Good Night’s Rest
If you’re someone who’s struggling with rest, then perhaps the number one thing you need to master in 2019 is your sleep routine. Here are some practical ways you can establish your bedtime ritual to maximize the quality of your slumber and regain a restorative night of rest.
Nix The Caffeine
Many of us feel that we can’t function at all without caffeine. However, if you want to sleep your very best, avoid caffeine after 1:00 pm. If you’re a late-night coffee drinker, this could have an immediate impact on how you feel. You also may want to avoid any other stimulants, especially sugar in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Stick To The Schedule
It might seem obvious, but there can be a noticeable benefit in simply going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Sticking to a schedule will help your body and circadian rhythm, and you will feel more refreshed!
Set The Mood
Take time to make your bedroom a place that is calming, inviting, clean and relaxing. In short, make it a place you actually want to sleep. One way to achieve this is to avoid working in bed. If your bed is a place where you eat or work, it’s harder for your mind to associate it with rest. Make your bed a sleep sanctuary and invest time into creating a soothing environment. One excellent way to achieve this is by purchasing an essential oil diffuser. Diffusing lavender oil into the bedroom before sleep can be a wonderful way to help you feel calm and relaxed.
Create A Power-Down Ritual
It’s been long understood that successful people usually have a morning routine. There are certain key rituals that help us charge up and get our mind focused, whether through meditation, exercise or spiritual practices. The same is true for sleep. Spend some time thinking about what sort of bedtime rituals you could incorporate to calm your mind and to prepare your body for rest. Find reading material that will put you at ease, and if possible avoid high-stress conversation in the hours leading up to sleep. You also might consider a cut-off time for TV or computer screens. Generally you know what kinds of things get you wound up and what helps you relax. Try to put together your own custom night routine for bedtime.