March is Healthy Sleep Month here at Happy Healthy Mama, and I’m excited about it. Here’s the thing. I know everyone might not be as excited about getting good sleep as I am. I’m a sleeper and love nothing more than a restful night’s sleep.
I know, however, sleep gets pushed to the back burner of many people’s health goals. There are so many other health goals, like eating healthy or exercising, that we focus on. It’s a mistake to disregard the importance of sleep, though. If you’ve never thought much about it, maybe you don’t realize just how important it is.
Why Sleep is So Important
- When we sleep, our brain is forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.
- When you’re well rested, you can make better decisions.
- When you’ve had enough sleep, you can pay attention better.
- Sleep deficiency is linked to depression.
- Poor sleep is linked to obesity.
- High quality sleep is linked with being more productive.
- Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of hormones.
- Healthy sleep promotes a strong immune system.
- When you’re sleep deficient, your body has trouble fighting infections.
- Poor sleep habits are strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar levels.
- Sleep deficiency is linked to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. (source)
As you can see, sleep is important for everyone, including our kids. (Check out the top three bullet points up there!) Knowing why sleep is important is great, but now what? We need to focus on getting the best sleep we can! Let’s look at some ways you can improve you sleep THIS MONTH.
10 Ways You Can Improve Your Sleep
- Create a sleep routine. Do something similar each evening that will help send triggers to your body that it’s time for sleep.
- Go to bed at the right time. If you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you’re probably overtired. If it takes you an hour to fall asleep, you aren’t ready for sleep. Pay attention and keep a sleep journal to help you figure out your ideal bedtime.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment. The room should be dark, cool (65 degrees is considered ideal) and quiet. Make your room a peaceful, serene place.
- Keep your bedtime and wake time consistent. Once you find your ideal sleep cycle, sleeping during that time will create your most well-rested self. It’s best to go to bed and wake up at the same time throughout the week (including weekends) as much as possible.
- Avoid blue light at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Don’t exercise too close to bed time. (At least 3 hours before bedtime is best)
- Manage stress in your life. Falling asleep and getting more quality sleep is more likely when you aren’t going to bed with a lot on your mind.
- If you take naps, make them short (1 hour or less) and as early in the day as you can.
- Use natural remedies for insomnia.
- Have a comfortable mattress, pillow, sheets, and blankets. Make your bed a place the feels great to get into and make sure you have the right mattress and pillow for your body and sleep type.
I know I have a lot to work on this month. (Cough! Cough! Blue light…) I know it’s worth the effort to get the best sleep I can. Not only will I be making myself healthier, but I know I’m a better wife and mom when I’m getting enough sleep.