Sleep is an vital part of functioning as a human being, and is especially important for Americans. According to the CDC 8.5-9 million Americans took sleep aids last month. As a nation we drink an abundance of caffeinated drink, we have a lot of anxiety about our lives and some of us try to self-medicate with drinking or drugs (prescription or otherwise), just to unwind and go to sleep.
However, all of the aforementioned choices take their toll on getting a truly restful night’s sleep. If you have ever had a sleepless night for any reason (anxiety, children, illness, etc.) you know how disoriented you can feel the next day; sometimes it can be almost impossible to make it through even a few hours. When we feel like this, we are definitely not on our “A game,” so to speak. We are starting our day from a place of deficiency, which is not a healthy way to navigate through your life.
A good night’s rest is something to be cultivated and appreciated. We should arrange our days, or at least our evenings, to incorporate more relaxation techniques so when it is time for bed we are ready to release into the most regenerative time of life.
To cultivate a good night’s sleep, one should refrain from caffeine after 11am and find at least 20 minutes during the day to either meditate or rest. Journaling the things that are causing us anxiety may prepare us as well; sometimes just writing out your anxious thoughts can make them less important in your mind. Refrain from technology or screens of any kind at least an hour before bed and do not eat at least 2 hours before sleep. These simple steps can help to create a better sleep cycle.
The average adult would perform best with around seven straight, uninterrupted hours of sleep at night. With the most beneficial hours for sleeping being somewhere between 9pm and 7 am. You should be able to fall asleep easily (in less than 20 minutes), sleep through the night uninterrupted and wake feeling rested and ready to go in the morning.
If this does not describe your sleep pattern, then I invite you to implement some of the previous recommendations into your daily practices to see if your sleep improves.