Hello Reader! We all know that sleep is needed but we also throw around those clichés such as, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, or “sleep is for the weak”, or the opposite “I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow”.
Truly one surefire way to be your true self and impact your world is to get consistent good sleep.
Well this week is actually Sleep Awareness Week[i] so I’m here to heighten your awareness and hopefully your sleep.
The Benefits of 1st Class Sleep
We all need sleep! Some of us need more than others. While you sleep your brain transforms your day’s experiences into memories and learning and releases hormones that fuel growth, build muscle mass, and repair tissues. Sleep also improves your immune system and influences your metabolism, nutrition and weight.
Your body is programmed for a sleep schedule but it needs your help to manage it and maintain it.
The National Sleep Foundation Sleep Plan
- Set a sleep schedule and stick to it more often than not. Go to sleep and wake up at same times each day. This reinforces the sleep schedule.
- Establish a restful bedtime routine. Wind down with relaxing activities for body, mind and spirit.
- Exercise daily as it’s linked to improve sleep. Avoid vigorous exercise though close to bedtime.
- Get exposure to the morning sun and try to get outside in the sun for 30 minutes or so during the day.
- Ways to help you establish a sleep plan: determine your true need, do you need help relaxing, falling asleep or staying asleep? To help you relax consider taking a warm bath or drinking a small glass of warm milk with some vanilla extract and stevia; turning off lights and technology an hour or two before bedtime to help signal your body to sleep; keeping the bedroom cool and clean.
Practice Good Sleep Habits
- Use a sound conditioner to block noises and turn clock lights away from the bed or use an eye mask to block lights.
- Set your phone or other technology to “do not disturb” during sleep times.
- Avoid big meals before bedtime as food could cause indigestion and liquids could wake you up later. Also consider avoiding red wine before bedtime as it often will put you to sleep but wake you up later.
- Avoid late or long naps unless you are sick.
- Get out of bed if you don’t fall asleep or are not sleepy. But do something relaxing like reading in dim light or journaling. *Watching Netflix or reading a Kindle or talking on the phone do not help the brain know it’s time to sleep. The bright lights and activity actually do the opposite.*
Constantly finding yourself unrested?
- Talk to your healthcare professional. Many factors influence good sleep including physical ones like a good mattress, pillow or sleep position; spiritual ones; relational ones; nutritional ones and others. You don’t have to figure it out on your own though.
- If you are wondering if you might be sleep deprived, check out these 10 signs from Huffington Post [ii]
- To learn more about sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation Web Site[iii]
Taking any steps in counseling or coaching is much more enjoyable with good sleep.
Here’s praying your sleep is deep, restorative, and gives you all the energy you need to impact your world with the restored hope from each glorious night of 1st class sleep.
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from yahoo shopping and graphic from canva.com