A lot has been written in the media lately about sleep. We are becoming more aware of the importance of sleep and the impact it has on our mental and physical health and yet it is something that many of us still to not prioritize. Per Kathryn Pinkham, founder of the Insomnia Clinic there has been a rise in the number of people seeking help for poor sleep in the last several years as stress levels increase and we are surrounded by technology 24 hours a day. Researchers from the National Sleep Foundation discovered that most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. In general if someone sleeps significantly more or less this is a sign of a more serious health problem. For example, people with Seasonal Affective Disorder often report hypersomnia, consistent oversleeping, or insomnia, being unable to fall asleep. Hypersomnia is often linked with depression. Trying to catch up on sleep on the weekend is another myth. Even if you sleep all day Saturday and Sunday when you go back to sleep deprivation on the weekdays you will still be out of balance.
Here are some tips from two sleep experts to help you get your “Z’s”.
Kathryn Pinkham, founder of the Insomnia Clinic:
- Build up your sleep drive- Shorten the amount of time you spend in bed i.e. go to bed a bit later and set your alarm earlier so that you will have more time awake and out of bed
- The 20 minute rule- Avoid being in bed for longer than 20 minutes if you are wide awake.
- Get some “brain rest”- In today’s 24 hours culture we don’t take time to rest our minds. Make time to ground yourself in the present moment. Try meditation.
- Quiet a racing mind at night with journaling during the day- Take some time in the early evening to write down everything which is on your mind including all of the things that distract you during the day and keep you awake at night i.e. empty your mind.
- Ditch the sleep tracker- Sleep trackers can create a lot of anxiety as people wake up to check the tracker and if they did not get enough sleep they often feel stress.
- Swap the phone for an alarm clock- Keep your phone in another room other than the bedroom to avoid the temptation to check it when you wake up.
- Create a simple relaxing routine- A good bedtime routine helps to facilitate quality sleep. It can be simple and short. Try lighting a candle or have a cup of herbal tea
Tips from Matthew Walker PhD author of Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams:
- Exercise but not too late in the day – Try to exercise at least 30 minutes most days but not later than two to three hours before your bedtime
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine or alcoholic drinks before bed- Stimulants like colas, coffee or cigarettes can make it hard to fall asleep. Having a nightcap may help you relax but it robs your of REM sleep and may cause you to awake when the effects ware off.
- Take a hot bath before bed – A drop in body temperature after a bath or hot shower may help you feel sleepy and relax you.
- Dark, cool, gadget free bedroom- Get rid of anything that may distract you from sleep such as noises, bright lights or an uncomfortable bed (more on this later). You sleep better if the temperature of the room is cool.
- Have sunlight exposure- Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in the natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day.
I created American Blossom Linens for selfish reasons, because I wanted bed sheets made in the USA that would help create a sleep haven in my bedroom. Let’s be real, we sleep for seven or more hours each night (2555 hours each year) which is a lot of time you are wrapped up those sheets. When faced with the choice about where to spend your hard earned dollars, choosing to spend it on organic cotton bed sheets made in the USA is a great step to creating the most comfortable sleepable bed. What we put against our skin affects our health. Studies show that not only do pesticides not wash out after a few washes, but they can be released when the cotton begins to break down. The organic cotton we use that is grown in West Texas avoids the use of toxic chemicals every step of the way. So in addition to trying some of the sleep tips above from our experts, give our soft, luscious, sustainable organic cotton bedding a try today.
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