Despite being fundamental and vital to our daily lives, sleeping well often eludes the best of us. Many of the daily activities we choose to engage in —or choose to avoid — can affect our quality and quantity of sleep. Stress, hormones, diet and exercise play an important role in how we are feeling overall and how well we sleep. Sleep should be restorative — not only for your mind but also your body. It allows for healing to take place through tissue repair, produces growth hormone which regulates body composition, affects our metabolism, and may even affect heart function. Studies have even shown shown depressed immune functioning directly stemming from sleep deprivation; this reduced state of immunity mirrors what we experience during times of high stress.
Are you having trouble sleeping? The following remedies may help.
- Set a schedule and adhere to it. Listen to your body. Do you get up every weekday morning at five to work out? Maintain the habit on the weekend. Nap if you must; but maintaining the same schedule when you rise will help to keep it habitual.
- Keep the bedroom activities simple! The bedroom should be for two things – sleeping and intimacy. No need for a television, reading, texting, etc. Don’t work in bed — it weakens “the mental association between your bedroom and sleep,” according to Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine.
- Minimize your bedroom guests. While it may be difficult “just say no!” Don’t allow the kids to set up shop in your room. Don’t train your children or pets to sleep in your bed. The National Sleep Foundation has found as many as 24 percent of parents have their children sleep in their beds for at least part of the night. It’s important to create and maintain a schedule where your children have their own space of retreat and it allows you the time not only to relax and recoup but also be intimate.
- Keep the temperature low and the clothes to a minimum. The ideal sleeping temperature is somewhere around 65 degrees (Fahrenheit). Sleeping in as little clothes as possible. Your body temperature naturally declines with sleep so having heavy layers of clothes on disrupts that natural inclination. Sleeping naked (gasp!) also helps regulate your hormones. In maintaining temperatures, your body may regulate your cortisol, melatonin oxytocin and growth hormone levels.
Implementation is easy – start tonight! Create your schedule, kick out the kids and the electronics, set the temperature down, get into the buff and have sweet dreams!
This post was originally published on October 15,2015 on American Daily News.