Few people would argue that getting the proper amount of rest is essential to having a productive day and supporting overall good physical and mental health. There’s plenty of research that supports this thought, and, on a basic level, it feels good to be well-rested.
You likely remember having a bedtime as a child to ensure you got the proper amount of rest. But children aren’t the only ones who need to give their bodies a chance to recharge. For adults, the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night. You owe it to yourself to take good care of yourself.
However, sometimes settling down after getting through a demanding schedule is trickier than it seems. Your mind may still be active thinking about the day’s events or even running through what you want to accomplish the following day. Having a routine to help you wind down may be a key ingredient to getting that oh-so-important rest.
About an hour before you go to bed, try using some of these techniques to have a peaceful night.
Turn off electronics
Shut down anything with a screen—tablets, phones, computers—to eliminate the distraction and the light that will keep you awake. Being connected or constantly “plugged in” is the norm in today’s society, and it could be wreaking havoc on your sleep. Checking email and watching TV stimulate your brain and send the message that it is time to be awake.
Write down worries for the day
If you find that your thoughts drift toward what happened during the day or what should happen the next day, capture those thoughts on paper. Use a journal or a notepad and write your thoughts or tasks down so you can feel assured that you won’t forget the ideas. You can go back to them when it’s time to be alert and take action.
Give your teeth some attention
One thing you can do to support optimum physical health should happen every night as part of your routine. Bacteria in our mouths are especially active when we sleep at night. The goal is to avoid giving the bacteria anything to feed on. Brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash are three easy steps to take to keep you oral health in check. Highly regard medical officials have even announced that just adding flossing to your routine can add over six years onto your life. If that’s not motivation to get out the floss – I don’t know what is!
Have a regular sleep schedule
There’s more to getting enough sleep than simply feeling good. Following a regular sleep schedule affects your circadian rhythms, or internal clock, which contributes to you getting better sleep. Every 24 hours people go through physical, mental and behavioral changes in response to the light and darkness around them. Going to sleep and waking up at about the same time each day will keep your rhythms on track.
Unplug in the bedroom
Doing work, texting or watching television in bed may be comfortable, but those activities can also be hindering you from getting a good night’s sleep. Spending time on activities that require concentration is time you are not spending resting. Those activities can interrupt your sleep pattern and lead to poor sleep at night.
Taking some simple steps to create or add to your nightly routine can have a big impact of the amount and quality of sleep you get. Experiment with several options and find what works best for you. Your body will thank you.
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