When you hear the word “sleep,” does it cause you to yawn? About how many hours do you get a night? Do you know how many you need to stay healthy and alert? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours a night. While you may scoff and immediately think of your incredibly busy schedule, there are ways to sneak in not only more sleep, but better quality Zzzzs.
- Allow yourself to leave some things unfinished. If you stay up late just to finish your to-do list, you rob yourself of valuable resting time. Dishes can be left in the sink and laundry left undone; these things really can wait until tomorrow. As long as you haven’t left the oven on and nobody’s sick or bleeding, you can likely leave the rest to get some rest.
- Stick to your bedtime. We tend to change our bedtimes with our daily schedules, particularly on the weekends. However, most sleep studies show that going to sleep and waking up at about the same time every day will have more long-term benefits in terms of feeling well-rested and healthy.
- Have a ritual. In tandem with a regular bedtime, create a soothing end-of-day ritual. Consider dimming the lights, taking a warm bath or shower, or listening to soft music. Some studies warn against making screen time part of that ritual — the motions on TV and electronics’ ‘blue lights’ can impede the brain from shutting down properly for the night.
- Manage your stress. Easier said than done, of course, but if you can find a way to organize your day, set priorities, and delegate tasks as much as possible, it will help you alleviate those late-night worries and last-minute frenzies of activity. Remind yourself again: Some things can wait until the next day.
- Exercise regularly. Continued physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply…as long as you don’t exercise too closely to bedtime. And remember that while 30 minutes of exercise is generally suggested, it doesn’t have to be completed all at one time; dividing activity into three 10-minute sessions is also effective.
- Eat and drink thoughtfully. Avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine before bedtime — stop with the latter at least four to six hours before. All of these can interfere with your sleep patterns, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. Instead, drink plenty of fluids like water, but not so much before bedtime it causes you to take a middle-of-the-night bathroom break.
Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury, no matter how busy we think we are or need to be. Do what you can to make your non-waking hours do the most good for you. Read our related blog posts or reach out to our medical staffing team at Medical Professionals today!
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