May has finally arrived! With May we hope to see the downfall of rain and the bright blooming of flowers! This is the time that Nature really begins to come alive with color, animals begin their happy chirping, and we can finally step out into the sunshine! With these great new changes in the air, are you able to take full advantage of them? Do you find yourself still fighting through a winter fog of tiredness, sleepiness, and grouchiness? Perhaps now is the time to take a cue from Mother Nature and through off your old habits and develop new to create a better sleep experience!
Finding the way to get a better night's sleep can seem like a daunting task. There are so many different stressors affecting us from work, to chores needing done at home, keeping up with your friends and family, the list can seem endless. With all the things going on, how do you budget time for sleep? Many Americans make the tragic mistake of sacrificing their sleep and pushing more caffeine. Studies indicate that excessive caffeine intakes can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, addiction, and even more fatigue once you crash. That does not include all the adverse side affects from the sugar and other additives that often come with the cup of coffee! Reseach indicates that when you get better sleep, it actually increases your ability to stay on task, increases productivity, and allows you to actually get more done in less time! Now, every one has a different story as to how much sleep they need each night, and there is truth behind this that depending on your genetics, there are different sleep needs. However, the average for adults is 7-9 hours of sleep needed each and every night. So how do you make sure that you receive the amount of sleep you need? It comes from creating a routine.
What time do you go to bed at night? Do you have a set schedule based on when you need to be up the next day? Or is it when you finally pass out from exhaustion at the end of a long day? Our bodies thrive on routine. By creating a consistent sleep time, our bodies adjust and begin to thrive on it. That does not mean that you can't make changes when needed. But overall, you will find that the more you stick to the schedule, the better you will feel each morning when you begin to tackle the day! Scheduling that 7-9 hours of time in bed is not enough however; you also need to use that time wisely.
Our bodies release a natural chemical called melatonin when it is time for us to go to sleep. This helps prepare the body to go to sleep and gives you clues by making your eyelids grow heavier. Usually, our bodies sees the lack of sunlight as the trigger to begin this process. This can be interrupted by our high tech electronics. TV's, monitors, laptops, and smartphones all emit a blue light from there screens. Science has studied these effects and has found that this will delay the release of melatonin. So, when you finally lay down to sleep, ditch the phone and darken the room as much as possible to encourage your melatonin release. It also helps to keep your room temperature at the proper setting. Too hot and you will sweat all night, too cold and you will shiver the night away, both without sleep. Anywhere between 60-67 degrees is considered the ideal temperature to get your beauty sleep.
Better sleep is something that many of us take for granted. We assume that the sleep will always be there for us later when we need it. However, if you are not careful, your physical and mental health can be injured. Weakened immune systems, fatigue, loss of focus,... the list goes on and on. Mother Nature is beginning to wake up from her winter slumber and ready to take on spring and summer. Be ready to enjoy the better weather by getting better sleep today!