Sleep – it’s that thing that most of us seem to always want more of.
Our society seems to praise “late nights” and being overworked, however sleep is incredibly important, especially for mental health. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. There are many risks to not getting enough sleep such as impaired judgment, changes in mood, risk of accidents, and a wealth of physical health problems.
I personally tend to not get enough sleep and can definitely feel the effects. I function best on 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep, and when I get less than 7.5, I notice that my anxiety levels are significantly increased. It makes it much harder to function, and it puts me in a completely different head space. When I get the proper amount of sleep, my anxiety levels are significantly lessened, I feel like I’m able to be more productive, and, in general, I have a more pleasant mood.
Here are some tips on improving sleep hygiene:
1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
When your body gets used to this, your “internal clock” adjusts and makes it easier to keep to the same schedule.
2. Put away your electronic devices 30 minutes before going to sleep.
The blue light that cell phones give off can affect the ability to fall asleep. Put away your phone and other devices about a half hour before going to sleep, and you may notice that it’s easier to fall asleep and you will feel more rested when you wake up.
3. Try a sleep meditation.
Every night as I’m trying to fall asleep, I do a sleep meditation. To do this, start deep breathing (inhale for approximately 4-5 seconds, exhale for 7-8 seconds). On each exhale, count down starting from 9, all the way down to 0. Then, repeat, starting at 8, and so on until you fall asleep.
It can be easy to neglect sleep when we have busy lives, however it is very important to place a priority on sleep hygiene. This week, put an extra focus on getting enough sleep and see how the benefits start to stack up!