One of the most important components of attaining a healthy lifestyle is getting enough sleep. It's not surprising that we often sacrifice sleep in the bustle of our busy lives. There's too much to do and not enough time, so we go to bed later, get up earlier, and frequently find ourselves tossing and turning when we make it to bed. Inadequate sleep can cause numerous problems from moodiness and irritation to impared concentration and even depression. It's time to find solutions that will help you get the quality and quantity of sleep that your body craves!
Most people live stressful lives, and those stresses, changes and troubles can take a toll on sleeping habits. Make it a priority to schedule some down time just for yourself: meditate, stretch, do yoga, or relax in a warm bath. Do something to decrease your brain activity prior to going to bed. Consider writing down your thoughts in a journal so you can then close the book on your day. Taking your troubles to bed with you keeps you from getting the rest that you need. If making a to-do list for the next day helps you feel calmer, take care of that task before you turn in for the night.
It's especially difficult to stick to a regular bedtime when you have a busy, active schedule. Add in the demands of a partner and kids, and it sometimes seems easier to take care of one more thing before you fall into bed! Create a routine and stick to it. Your body will get used to going to sleep at a certain time, and it will soon come more naturally. Create an environment that invites sleep. Don't use your bedroom as an office and bring those tensions into the atmosphere. Instead, make it a relaxing haven with comfortable bedding and soft lighting. It should be the place that you retreat to when it's time to rest.
Your metabolism increases to digest food, and your energy level is elevated as well. That's a reason to limit your food and beverage intake before bed. As you lie down, acids in your stomach level out making heartburn and indigestion more likely. Stop eating three hours before your scheduled bedtime and avoid stimulants during the evening hours -- nicotine and caffeine will make it more difficult for you to relax and fall asleep. Alcohol is a depressant and may have a sedative effect that puts you to sleep, but as it wears off your sleep pattern will suffer. A glass of warm milk is the better option.
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