One of the ways to reduce stress is to get a good night’s sleep. If you want to be at your best during your waking hours, getting a good night’s sleep must be a priority in your life. In fact, one of the most important components in staying healthy is to sleep well. For most of us, that means getting a minimum of seven and a half hours of sleep—that’s seven and a half hours of uninterrupted, deep, restful sleep.
For those of you who have difficulty falling asleep or for those who’d like to prepare yourself for a nice peaceful sleep, I’d like to share some simple suggestions that may help:
- Shut down all electronic devices an hour before bed time. Turn off your computer, your television, your radio, and your games. Don’t stimulate your mind. Instead, let your mind slow down and drift to a tranquil state.
- Relax before bedtime. Take a soothing hot bath with lavender scents. Turn off the lights in the bathroom and light a few scented candles. Soak in the warmth of the water and the pleasant aroma.
- Make yourself a nice hot cup of camomile tea. Bring it to your bathtub if you like.
- Put aromatherapeutic oils on your body that can help relax your body and help you sleep.
- Meditate before you sleep. For a short period in my life, I was having terrible nightmares which disrupted my sleep. I started meditating before I went to sleep and the nightmares stopped. I was then able to have very restful and deep sleeps.
- Listen to calming sounds (i.e. meditative music, healing music, or sounds of nature).
- Reflect on all the good things that happened during the day before you sleep. Remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for. Thank God and the Universe for sending so many blessings. Don’t have negative thoughts or dwell on anything that is disconcerting before bedtime.
- Go to sleep early and wake up early. The time when you go to sleep is significant. For every hour that you sleep before midnight, you are actually getting additional restorative sleep. If you wake up early, that can be your most creative and productive time in your day. Try it.
- Sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each day. Make it part of your daily routine to have a sleep schedule. Ideally, try sleeping at 10 pm and waking up at 6 am.
- Make sure you sleep enough hours. Some people may think 6 hours of sleep is enough when research has shown that most healthy adults need between 7.5 – 9 hours of sleep. Of course, our bodies are all different and as such, you must decide for yourself exactly how much sleep you require. You can determine how many hours you need by being in tune with your body. If you feel your mind is alert during your waking hours and that you are productive all day from morning to night, then you probably got adequate sleep the night before.
Remember that there is a huge difference between just getting enough sleep to function and the actual amount of sleep you need to perform at your very best!
As a student, I remembered pulling “all-nighters” and staying up all night to study before an exam, and not getting any sleep. To all you students out there, this is not an advisable method of studying! I vividly remember preparing for one exam by eating chocolate-covered coffee beans all night trying to stay awake. The unfortunate result of that was I was thinking so unclearly the next morning from sleep deprivation, I didn’t even finish my exam. Not to mention that I could barely write my exam as my hands were shaking from too much caffeine and too little sleep!
No matter what the reason for sleep loss, it will affect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. You will be less productive, your energy level will be low and your ability to handle stress will be compromised. You won’t feel good and sleep deprivation will inevitably affect your health. The quality of your sleep will directly affect the quality of your life. I encourage all of you to maximize your full potential by always ensuring you have proper sleep.
Sleep well and sweet dreams to you always,
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