A common phrase passed around adults in the US is “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” We are far too quick to push sleep aside and treat it as an inconvenience. The truth is, though, sleep is a vital component in keeping our mind and body healthy and functioning properly. Yes, the importance of sleep is right up there with food, oxygen, and water!
Many Americans, new parents especially, experience highly fragmented sleep. What this means is, that though they may get several hours of sleep, it is often broken up. When this happens, you don’t hit the restorative REM sleep cycle. Essentially making the sleep that you get useless. You may be thinking, “well at least they are getting some sleep, right?” Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Quality, unbroken sleep for even seven hours beats 10 hours of fragmented sleep every time.
Five Tips to Achieve Quality Sleep at Night
- Eliminate Light. Consider sleeping with a facemask or blackout curtains, especially if you live somewhere that is lit up brightly throughout the night. Light sends a signal to your body that it is time to be awake and can seriously delay sleep. Blocking it out while you are in bed is one way to ensure you can fall asleep and stay asleep until morning.
- Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule. It is important to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. If this is too difficult, try and stay within an hour of your regular sleep schedule on weekends.
- Make healthy afternoon choices. We all know how a healthy breakfast in the morning can help us start our day on the right foot. Well, what you do in the afternoon has just as big of an impact on your ability to sleep well at night. Avoid sugar and caffeine intake after about two or three o’clock in the afternoon. It takes a minimum of six hours for their effects to wear off and they have real potential to keep you awake longer than you’d like. Make some time to exercise, for at least 30 minutes, as this can help you to sleep better as well.
- Keep your bedroom about two things, sleep and sex. Your brain can be trained to associate your room with sleep, making it easier for you to relax once you get into bed. Work, emails, movies, television, doing homework, working out, all these things should be done outside of your bedroom.
- Create a bedtime routine. Like you can train your brain to associate your bed and bedroom with sleep, you can also train your body and mind to prepare to go to sleep by maintaining a regular bedtime ritual. Create a routine that you can follow every night starting at the same time. For example, shut down all electronics, have a calming cup of tea, and read a book for half an hour before brushing your teeth and turning in. You can throw a warm shower in there or a relaxing yoga stretch, whatever suits you. Just keep it up every night to signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep.
It doesn’t quite matter how much you sleep get if it is broken up. The National Sleep Foundation concurs, nothing is better for you than continuous, restorative, quality sleep.
If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, or your sleep quality is lacking, there is a chance that you are suffering from a sleep disorder. Schedule a consultation at Family Sleep Diagnostics, we can help you determine what is causing your sleep troubles and treat your problem accordingly. Call us at 972-714-0011 or request an appointment online.