I occasionally host a guest post from an expert on a particular topic. This post is by Cheryl Conklin of Wellnesscentral.info.
For many of us, sleep might seem like a waste of many hours. We’re lying down in a bed with our eyes closed when we could be doing work, getting things accomplished, and changing the world — or, at the very least, catching up on our latest show on Netflix. If we think this, we would be wrong, though. Improving our sleep habits will improve our lives in many ways, including boosting our mental health. Here are a few tips on how to create a sleep routine.
Lack of Sleep
First, a little more on the dangers of not getting enough sleep. A lack of sleep can cause long-term issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and depression. It can also lead to a greater risk of depression and anxiety, increased risk of heart disease and cancer, impaired memory, a reduced immune system, and weight gain.
The point; you need more sleep. To create a mental health-boosting sleep routine, you need to know how much sleep you should be getting. The recommended amount, however, is based on your age. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours for everyone 18 years old and older. Of course, you may need even more if you have been staying up late for a while or if you have extra stress in your life.
Signs that you are running a sleep deficit include feeling tired throughout the day, using caffeine just to make it through the day, not sleeping well, not waking up refreshed, and getting drowsy while you’re driving or watching TV.
Creating a New Sleep Routine
If you’re not getting enough sleep, try creating a new sleep routine. First, set a regular bedtime and stick to it. Your body will respond well to the consistency. You’re also more likely to get good sleep if you schedule your rest just like anything else you want to get done. You should also stay away from caffeine, even if you think you need it to stay awake during the day. If you drink it too late in the afternoon, you’ll likely still be awake at night.
You can also help your body relax before bed by taking a hot bath and meditating for a few minutes. Create a calm, soothing environment with a temperature that works well for you. You should also get any preparations for the next day done about an hour before bedtime if possible.
Here’s another tip that might be hard to follow, but it will be good both to help you relax and clear your mind; turn off your electronic devices about an hour before bedtime. The artificial light isn’t good for you, and you also want to have some time to wind down without worrying about social media or what is happening online.
Other Sleep Aids
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, a few other aids may help you get the rest you need to keep you in good mental health. Several over-the-counter sleep medications can work well. (The National Sleep Foundation recommends using these for a maximum of four weeks.) If your problems seem more serious, you should see a doctor about your sleeping issues. They can check for underlying health problems, such as depression or a thyroid problem. They can also refer you to a sleep specialist, especially if they suspect a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.
Following these tips should get you into a good sleep routine that will be beneficial for both your mental and physical health. This will help you perform better at home and at work and will put you on the road to a happy life. Now, get some sleep!