Every morning my FaceBook feed and Twitter timelines are chockful of uberhappy morning folks determined to hype me up with affirmations, energy and a kickstart to my day. If I had a dollar for every "rise & grind" or "you can sleep when you're dead" quote, I'd be retired to my tropical island. And I get it, I understand the theory behind it. Let's get up, be productive and make it do what it do. I agree... to a point.
With all of the ambitions and demands on our day-to-day hustle struggles and family/friend duties, sleep seems to be the one thing we are more than willing to sacrifice. When people think of "total wellness" most focus on diet and exercise not realizing that lack of sleep is just as detrimental to our health.
Sleep is like a reset button for your mind, body and soul. It's an opportunity to restore mood, regenerate energy, reduce stress, think without outside interruption and rest our bodies. The average person requires 6 - 8 hours a night to function at top performance.
Stress is a killer. Long periods of prolonged stress have been attributed to all manner of fatal diseases not to mention mental fatigue. Sleep is one way to reduce that anxiety. I know, it's easier said than done. There are definitely nights when I cannot turn my brain off and sleep is elusive. So I've done some research which I'm happy to share with you now. Here are some tips to getting that good night's sleep:
1. Have a scheduled bedtime. I know it sound either really juvenile or really senior citizen but studies show that having a set window to shut it down for the night programs your body to rest regularly.
2. Chill out one hour before bedtime. They say you should turn off all music, TV, computers, etc one hour prior to nodding off. I can't do it. I generally fall asleep with the TV on and then turn it off sometime in the middle of the night.
3. Make up lost time. If you only get four hours of sleep on night, you should try and make those hours up over the next two nights. Think of sleep as a deposit in the bank. If you're continually overdrawn, you never catch up.
4. Exercise. 20 - 45 minutes of aerobic activity during the day positively affect your ability to get a good snooze on. You choose what kind of aerobic activity works best for you.
5. Cut the caffeine and energy drinks. If you are a caffeine or energy drink junkie, save them for the early part of the day. Cut the sweets. Desserts = sugar. Sugar = hyperactivity. Hyperactivity = no bueno for bed.
6. Eat early. You should have your last meal at least 90 minutes prior to bed time. Diving into bed after the taco platter is bad for sleep, digestion and hips. If you have a snack close to bed, it should be high protein with fruit. Cheese, a slice of turkey with grapes is the recommended snack.
7. No arguing before bedtime. Experts say if you have beef, sleep on it. The next morning if you're still ticked off - talk about it then. For one, you have time to think about it. Secondly, arguments prior to sleep (unless you resolve them) just disturb your restfulness. [I haven't mastered this one either]
8. Do something stress-releasing before you sleep. A lot of people prefer to read a few chapters of a book, others prefer le cocoa, prayer, some take a hot bath, drink hot herbal tea or warm milk. Whichever you prefer, studies show that people who actively reduce stress prior to bed have more productive (REM) sleep and wake up more rested.
9. If none of that works - nap. Even a nap as short as 20 minutes is considered more refreshing and invigorating than a energy drink. If you have a chance to close your office door (slip out to your car) at midday and catch a few winks, your mind and body with thank you for it.
So... I'll sleep now if you don't mind. Who gets eight hours a night? Who's on that Rise & Grind theory? Who (like me) is afflicted with regular bouts of insomnia? What's your favorite sleep remedy? Let's talk sleep habits, BougieLand. The floor is yours...