It’s no secret that getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your health. Sometimes though, knowing that sleep is important and getting the recommended amount every night can be two different practices. Between your job, social life, and family, it can seem impossible to balance your sleeping and waking hours.
Part of this problem has to do with many people’s outlook on sleep. All too often, we see it as a luxury; something we cram in between work and that last episode of our favorite Netflix show. However, it might be time to start seeing it as a priority. What you may not realize is that the amount of rest you get every night is directly tied to the other aspects of your life, including your overall health.
Effects of Sleep
Although we may associate lack of sleep with yawns and tired eyes, not getting enough rest can have much more serious effects on our overall health. It can negatively affect your mood and judgment, and also has long-term consequences. According to the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine, effects of severe sleep deprivation may include “chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and that these conditions may lead to a shortened life expectancy.” For most people though, this deprivation may manifest itself in smaller ways, like a lack of focus and productivity at work. (source)
By contrast, getting enough sleep has many potential benefits. Getting a full night of rest may support concentration and focus, as well as promote productivity throughout the day. It can also support a healthy mood, has been linked to learning and processing information, and may also promote healthier looking skin.
5 Ideas for Healthy Sleep
If you find it difficult to make sleep a necessary part of your life, we’ve come up with five tips and tricks so you can prioritize your rest every night. Your body and health will thank you!
Quality over Quantity
Although it’s often said that eight to nine hours is optimal, the quality of rest you get each night could potentially matter more than the quantity. For example, some people may need nine hours every night, while others may function well on six. According to Dr. Michelle Zeidler, a pulmonologist who specializes in sleep medicine, it’s important to cycle through all five stages of the REM cycle, rather than concentrating on a specific number of hours. If you feel refreshed after waking up, and are able to concentrate well, you’re likely getting the right amount of rest. (source)
Prepare for Sleep Throughout the Day
One of the ways you may be able to support a healthy night’s sleep is by thinking about rest holistically. This means incorporating good practices into your everyday life. For example, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet may prepare your body for a healthy night of sleep (plus it’s just a good practice to promote overall wellness!). Some people also incorporate other practices such as mindfulness or detoxing to support rest and relaxation.
Develop a Pre-Sleep Routine
Whether your routine before bed is reading a few chapters of your favorite book, or having a cup of tea, taking the time to let your body transition to a more restful state is key. Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution, writes, “The same way we transition children by giving them a bath and telling them a story, we need to do that to ourselves.” When thinking about your nightly routine, consider adding in a few small habits. We love sitting with a cup of one of these calming teas — both contain chamomile, cinnamon, and passionflower to promote healthy sleep.
Turn Off Your Devices
Although it can be tempting to check social media before bed, our devices emit blue light that makes getting rest difficult. This is because the photoreceptors in our brains interpret this light as daylight. This may promote wakefulness by disrupting our natural circadian rhythms. A good way to avoid this is to turn off all your devices about an hour before you go to bed to offer support for normal rest patterns. (source)
In addition, there are some ways you can support your rest naturally. We carry a variety of supplements that support healthy rest, and may make a difference for you. One of our favorites is Kavinace Ultra PM, which offers natural support for a healthy night’s rest.
If you prefer a liquid supplement, consider Relaxing Sleep from Herb Pharm. This formula is free of melatonin and contains a blend of herbal extracts to support rest and relaxation.
Whichever method you choose, make sure that healthy sleep is your priority. If you’re still tossing and turning at night, check out our other posts for more tips on how to get a healthy night of rest!
Do you have any “tried and true” secrets for a better night’s sleep? Share them in the comments!