It is well established that adequate sleep will affect a person’s mental process, memory and problem solving skills. It will even improve a person’s mood, energy and motivation for the day.
Sleep is the body’s way of resetting itself metabolically and psychologically. You are designed to function optimally on a 24-hour circadian rhythm. Sleep is what helps your body adjust to the stresses placed upon it during the day. If you are not getting the appropriate amount of sleep or keep adjusting your sleeping pattern (day shift to night shift, etc.), your natural stress response will not be able to function properly.
Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, sleeping as much as possible before midnight. Your body repairs itself best between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. If you have trouble relaxing or falling asleep:
- Go to bed only when you feel sleepy
- Lay in bed only for sleep, not for work or watching TV
- If you are not able to sleep after 10-15 minutes, go to another room to read or listen to music until you feel sleepy
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours prior to bedtime
- Remove electronics at least one hour before bed
- Practice relaxation (dim lighting, music, warm tea, hot bath) during the 30-45 minutes before bed
- Read a relaxing novel, devotional or book of inspirational stories, or consider a daily practice of writing in a gratitude journal
- Write down the next day’s tasks so you can relax your mind knowing all your worries will not be forgotten in the morning
- Go to bed about the same time each night; try not to break this routine, even on weekends or when it may be tempting to stay up late
- Eliminate caffeine and all stimulants after 1 p.m. in order to get the deep sleep that is most refreshing
- Sleep in total darkness — use room darkening shades and utilize alarm clocks with a red number display that does not disrupt natural melatonin secretion
- When traveling, place a rolled up towel in front of the hotel room door to block hall light
- When possible, disconnect from your cell phone in the bedroom
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