Sleep! Most of us are not getting enough and this lack of it effects our productivity, quality of life, general wellbeing and can even contribute to more serious health issues like cancer, diabetes and alzheimer's.
Therefore it's time to take a serious look at our sleeping habits .... it's time to tackle any issues with sleeping routines and it's time to join the sleep revolution!
According to a recent report published by Public Health England the physical and mental health problems caused by lack of sleep cost the UK over £30 billion annually due to loss of work place productivity. It is no surprise then that Google reports are seeing a steady increase in searches relating to insomnia and 'how to sleep better'.
As well as nutrition and exercise we need to be including sleep when we talk about our wellness and wellbeing. Although long standing bad habits won't necessarily change overnight the below advise from Nancy H. Rothstein (The Sleep Ambassador®) may help you make a start on your very own sleep revolution:
• Make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary. First step: Take all tech devices out of your bedroom. If your smartphone is your alarm clock, invest in an inexpensive clock without an LED display. Charge devices elsewhere so you can recharge with quality sleep.
• Turn off all technology (computer, smartphone, TV, etc.) at least half an hour before going to sleep for a week or so, then increase to one hour. Just do it! Look at this as an experiment so you can actually evaluate if there is a difference in your ability to relax for sleep, fall asleep and sleep better.
• In the 2-5 minutes before falling asleep, think positive thoughts. What do you want to see in your life? Make affirmations. No negative ruminations about what you're unhappy about or what went wrong during your day. This precious time is an opportunity to program your subconscious, which is about to take over as your conscious mind gets a break during slumber. Think of your subconscious as a computer into which you are programming what will be downloaded during sleep. What do you want to be processed there?
• If you awaken during the night, do not look at the clock. Doing so activates your brain. You know the inner dialogue: What if I can't fall back asleep? I'll be so tired for my meeting tomorrow. And then there's the counting of how many hours of sleep are left before it's time to wake up. If you have other electronic devices in your bedroom with a visible time display, cover the screen.
• Consider keeping a sleep diary. This helps you gain awareness of your sleep habits, both good and bad. From here, you can assess what you need to change and monitor experiences and sleep improvement.
• Reading is a great way to unwind and transition to sleep. Read a printed book vs. on a tablet.
Don't pressure yourself for perfection. Look at your sleep crusade as a journey that will have diversions and setbacks along the way. But you'll have a roadmap to help you return to good sleep habits and experience sustainable improvement. You'll know that when you sleep well, you're more awake for life. Be sure to congratulate yourself along the way for joining the sleep revolution!
Note: If you suspect you may have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or restless legs syndrome, be sure to schedule a visit with your doctor or a sleep specialist. Getting diagnosed and treated will make your sleep revolution all the more effective, and enhance your health and well being.
Credit: Nancy H. Rothstein, MBA - The Sleep Ambassador®, Director CIRCADIAN® Corporate Sleep Programs™