Sleep is essential but sometimes so elusive! The American Psychological Association reports that 20% of adults feel sleepy a few days a week and 69%of children experience sleep issues a few nights or more a week (apa.com/sleep.) Sleep is an issue for many of us. How can we not only get more sleep, but improve the sleep we get?
How can a Power Nap Help?
Getting enough sleep has always been a problem for me. When I was younger, I was a night owl. I would stay up half the night and get up later in the morning. When you don’t have children this might work, but many of us hear the pitter-patter of little feet early in the morning. Our beauty sleep immediately comes to a halt. If you have a child that doesn’t sleep well, it will also disrupt your sleep pattern. What do you do when you are dragging and your mental health is plummeting due to lack of sleep?
The research says a 10 minute cat nap can help. Cat or also called power naps are good between 1-3 pm in the afternoon. The most important thing is that the naps remain short! You want your body to rest and get in to a Stage 2 sleep but make sure it doesn’t get into deep sleep. Drifting off into deep sleep can do more harm than good by making you feel more groggy. Next time you are dragging, instead of taking a 30 minute trip to get coffee, try a 10 minute power nap!
How Changing Daily Habits Buys Back Sleep
If you are anything like me, sleep is the first thing that goes out the window when I am busy. Almost every day I have emergencies or things that go wrong. Even with the best made plan, something always happens to divert my attention. My “to do” list is also much longer than it should be. Combine emergencies with a “to do” list that is as long as a roll of toilet paper, and I begin to rob time from my sleep. It has become a BAD habit to put my sleep at the bottom of my priority list. I began to realize that lack of sleep was a habit that I needed to break. I have begun to reprioritize and to put “crap or emergency time” into my schedule. If I don’t use the “crap time,” I get to go to bed earlier. I have turned it into a reward. Instead of having “crap time” rob me of sleep, I get more sleep if I get the resolved or delegate them faster. The less time I spend on “crap” the more sleep or time I get to rest.
Prepare Yourself for Sleep
My days tend to fly by and I am always trying to get more things done. Instead of preparing myself for bed at the end of my day, I am drumming up my adrenalin and pushing my body to the finish line. This has only served to raise my stress levels instead relaxing my brain and preparing my body to rest. In working full blast up to the end of my day, I also remain in front of a screen too long. This only serves to fill my eyes with blue light that has been shown to disrupt sleep. Again, it is a change in habit. I got blue light filters on my glasses and make it a habit to stop all screen related work an hour before bed. Now I do a short 10 minute yoga stretch routine and a few minutes of sleep meditation before bed. I also read books. Slowing my mind and body down before sleep, has help tremendously. By preparing myself better for sleep, I get to sleep shortly after my head hits the pillow.
Everyone is different and your sleep patterns may not match mine. Whatever you do, remember to keep sleep a priority. If you are not getting enough of it, look at your days and find out what habits are robbing you of the rejuvenation time your body and brain need! Share below what you are doing for sleep!
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