Are you hitting the sheets for the right amount of time each night?
On average, it’s estimated that most of us are getting between 4 to 6.9 hours of sleep each night, even though the recommended amount of shut-eye hovers between 7.5 to 9 hours.
Between work, family life and social commitments, there is a growing list of reasons why our sleep is being deprived. But whether you are currently battling exhaustion or claim you ‘run better on less sleep’- why does the amount of sleep really matter?
Well, have you ever heard the saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? It may be true! Running on minimal hours can significantly decrease your longevity- and I’m positive your loved ones would object to you running yourself into the ground.
Getting consistent quality REM sleep is directly linked to the majority of our mind & body’s performance.
Want clear skin? Get a good night’s sleep.
Want to be more focused and productive? Get a good night’s sleep.
Want to lose weight? You guessed it- get a good night’s sleep.
Heck, it can even lower blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and more! Enough said? No?
Well, here are some additional reasons why you may want to catch a few extra zzz’s tonight:
• It increases your immune function
• It reduces stress and anxiety
• It improves your memory and ability to retain information
• It increases your ability to build muscle, and helps to banish fat
• It improves your skin, and slows down the aging process
• It increases your sex drive
• It reduces (and can eliminate) migraines and headaches
• And the biggest reason… IT’S FREE!
BONUS: Did you know that cravings and late-night binges can be reduced and even eliminated by improving sleep and reducing caffeine intake? Or that sleep also increases your overall mood and happiness?!
Yes babe, it really does! So, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon of earlier bedtimes and nighttime routines.
Now, I think it’s fair to assume you probably guessed that not all sleep is created equal. Even if you are lying down for the grand total of 9 hours- that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting quality sleep. For instance:
Does it take you a long time to fall asleep?
Do you wake up easily?
Wake up lots?
Feel like you slept like a log but wake up groggy and exhausted?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you might be sleep deprived.
In fact, here are the three biggest causes of sleep deprivation:
1. Caffeine intake to close to bed. Surprisingly, this doesn’t just mean limiting your coffee intake after 2 pm. Caffeine can be found in all kinds of food and drink including tea, pop, dietary supplements, and even chocolate! It’s important to know what you are putting into your body and try to limit the use of caffeine in the afternoon and on. Looking for a replacement? Try non-caffeinated herbal teas or warm lemon water with honey.
2. Screen time. It’s not a shocker that the decreased hours of sleep are directly correlated with the increase in screen time and accessibility. Everyone has some form of a device now days, and using these within an hour (even two) before bed can cause significant sleep disruption.
Because of this, many people struggle with falling asleep quickly, and often have broken up sleep patterns. The solution? Aim to step away from the devices at least 30 minutes (but ideally longer than that) before bed. Some ideas of what to do instead can include yoga, reading, journaling, or even getting ready for the next day!
3. Stress overload. Have a hectic day coming up tomorrow? Something from today really bothering you? Dreading that meeting at work? Nothing can reap havoc on your zzz’s more than a chaotic mind that can’t shut off.
In order to rest with peace of mind, you need to allow your mind the chance to let go of thoughts or worries.
Each night before bed, take out a notebook and jot down everything that is coming to your thoughts- whether it’s a to do list or a way to hash out whatever is bothering you- either way it allows your mind the ability to unwind and shut off for the night’s sleep ahead.
Incorporating any of these tips would be a great way to improve your sleep and ensure that you are getting more quality shut-eye.
I recommend starting slow and integrating them one at a time for a sustainable, layered in effect.
Have questions? No problem! Check out my video on Facebook HERE where I share my own personal bedtime routine and a few extra tips that I didn’t share above!