My father always used to say, “I will sleep when I die.” My father was dead at 49. Sleep is not a luxury. Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity and lack of sleep is not a lifestyle choice. Not if you want to be healthy, productive and live a long life.
During this Covid19 crisis, I’ve heard many of my friends talk about how they are having trouble sleeping so I decided to do a little research. Two great enemies of sound, restful sleep are caffeine and alcohol. Both of which we are probably partaking in excess during our shelter-in-place existence. In addition, with more time on our hands, we may even be taking little naps during the day. Add the daily news, our overactive imaginations, and the increased screen time and you have the recipe for sleepless nights.
Sleep research has consistently demonstrated the link between sleep disorders and hypertension, strokes, depression, diabetes, cancer, and more recently Alzheimer. Despite the evidence, many of us neglect our bodies' need for seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
1. Go to sleep and wake up roughly at the same time every day, even on weekends shooting for seven to eight hours of sleep every night. No more late nights watching movies or sleeping in until late morning.
2. Keep your room cool at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. I know we are all trying to save energy and money but a hot room leads to sleepless nights. This is especially important if you sleep with someone who likes to get close to you. Turn down that thermostat.
3. Keep a notepad by your bedside. Before you go to sleep, write down anything that you have to do the next day or that’s running through your head and keeping you up. When I do this, I don’t have to worry about forgetting something I have to do the next day and it helps me leave my worries on the page.
4. Put a timer and play soft, relaxing music to help you fall asleep and mute background noises. Experiment with what sounds work best for you and for how long you want the music to play. I like to play meditation music.
Perhaps reading this has already made you sleepy so I wish you a restful good night.