Who said “Sleep is over-rated”?
Not enough emphasis is placed on the importance of good and restful sleep.
There is no controversy about the human need for sleep, we all need it but don’t usually get enough of it. The Center for Disease Control gives the following recommendation according to age.
Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
Infants (4–12 months): 12–16 hours
Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
School age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours
Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours
Adult (18–60 years): 7-plus hours
Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours
Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours
Many of us are simply too busy with our own distractions and don’t make the time to include sleep and preparing for sleep an important part of self-care. But important it is, good and restful sleep enables the body and mind to repair itself for another day. It is also known to help prevent heart disease and excess weight gain.
Preparing for sleep should include a few moments of slow breathing exercises and meditation. Many people forego that step and by the time they get into bed and close their eyes, their brains begin to race, rehashing the day’s events and planning for tomorrow keeping them awake.
In the preparation phase, you should include setting your alarm on a battery clock rather than your phone, which should be either turned off or kept in another room. While many enjoy the company of falling asleep with the TV on as it’s a 24/7 form of shopping and entertainment, it’s affecting your sleep pattern.
There are always stimulants and outside influences to deter sleep and many ways to avoid sabotaging your sleep preparation. You need to stay away from caffeine for several hours before the targeted bedtime. Try to keep somewhat of a sleep and wake up schedule, so that both your body and mind know when it’s time to sleep and wake up.
Not to discourage anyone from a workout, but do it several hours before you want to sleep. Fighting off the endorphins is a work out itself, then of course right after a workout needs to be a thorough rehydration and shower.
The temptation to take a nap during day is great but if you cannot fight it, try to keep it to 30 minutes so that it doesn’t interfere with your nightly slumber. And if at all possible try not to make it a part of your daily routine.
Another variable to consider is the late night heavy meals, you know what I mean. How many times we are tied up with working late and laundry, and basically life, and we’ve been too busy for dinner. Skipping or postponing a meal is not horrible but certainly should not be a daily practice. So if you find yourself realizing that you haven’t eaten dinner and it’s 9:30 PM, a lighter meal is more appropriate. Maybe consider a tuna salad or if you need your meal warm, try a cup of soup with a piece of salmon and a salad.
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