Everywhere you turn there is a new self-care trend. A new cream to smooth wrinkles, dietary supplements to improve digestion, workout regiments to lose weight, and the list goes on.
But often neglected is the importance of sleep. And not just any sleep, but the deep, undisturbed sleep our bodies and minds need to perform at our peak during the day. Sleep is the foundation from which our overall health stems from. Without quality sleep, nearly every other self-care technique will suffer.
Just how important is good sleep?
According to Dr. Stacy Sampson, sleep deprivation can lead to:
Low sex drive
High blood pressure
Risk of heart disease
Lack of concentration
As a society, we are too fast to seek out a quick-fix solution to the myriad of perceived health and beauty flaws. A desire to lose weight may lead someone to unhealthy dietary supplements or the want to reduce the effects of aging resulting in the use of chemical laden lotions.
Making sure you get a good night’s sleep a priority in your self-care routine will have enormous positive impacts to your overall health including:
Stronger immune system
Steadier blood sugar levels
So how do you make sure you get all the ZZZs you need? Start with establishing an evening routine and set some pre-bedtime rules. For example:
Avoid blue light – The blue light emitting from our cell phones and tables prevents melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, from being released.
Avoid certain TV entertainment – Watching intense dramas, horror films, or exciting sports right before bedtime can make it difficult for your mind to calm itself.
Darken your sleep space – No matter where you catch your ZZZs, make sure the room is dark enough to keep your body’s circadian rhythm in the flow.
Use a sleep mask – If where you are sleeping isn’t dark enough (especially when traveling) use a sleep mask to provide the darkness you need.
Listen to music or white noise – Soft, relaxing music or white noise can help your mind calm itself and allows you to drift into a quiet sleep.
Avoid alcohol – While drinking alcohol may make feel sleepy, your body must work hard to process and remove the poison from your body.
Avoid caffeine – This tip should be obvious as caffeine is a stimulant. But still be aware as caffeine often sneaks into foods and beverages unbeknownst to us.
Meditate – Letting your mind free itself of the information it has collected throughout the day can be exactly what it needs to lead you into a deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Your list for the perfect pre-bedtime routine needs to be as unique as you are. Everyone has their own preferences, but once you’ve found yours, you will find many more positive changes in your life than just not nodding off during the day!