Sleep is not only the way we rest our bodies, it is a basic need that humans were designed to have. It’s a time to relax, disconnect, recharge, and renew. It is a time to drift off into bliss away from the pressures and noise of life. Dreams rejuvenate the soul– like stepping into an old book, our dreams tell the story of our lives in an abstract and oftentimes heavenly way.
As humans, we need sleep the same as we need water and food, yet modern life is stripping this basic need away from us, hour by precious hour. I find it curious that we place such a high importance on diet and exercise, while sleep is all but swept under the carpet. I hear people, including myself, say things like, “sleep is overrated,” but is it? If sleep is a basic human need, why don’t we value it more? This might be the most overlooked area of our lives. I know it is for me, personally.
Before having children, I would sleep a minimum of 8 hours a night. But, in the last decade those numbers have dwindled away. It might be children, but it’s also technology and the pleasure I get from working hard. After a long day of doing things for others, I end up staying up too late, either working on this blog, spending time on social media, or watching a TV show or movie. I end up doing a lot of cleaning or getting ready for the next day at night after my children have gone to bed. I keep myself busy at night, instead of unwinding like we did in previous generations. I have come to count on this prized time, but at a huge cost. I don’t sleep well.
When I started the Kohl’s Make Your Move campaign I was given the opportunity to try the FitBit activity tracker. I am a very active person, so it wasn’t any big surprise that I would make my 10,000 steps per day. What was eye opening to me was my sleep. FitBit also tracks your sleep, so I was shocked to find out that even though I am in bed for 6-7 hours a night, I am only getting on average 4.5 hours of quality sleep. I’m a very light sleeper and am easily woken up, constantly tossing and turning. This information Fitbit gave me was what I needed to start to try and improve things in this area.
Do you want more quality sleep? I’m challenging myself and my readers to work toward creating a healthy sleep routine as a part of the Kohl’s Make Your Move campaign. Make Your Move is about living your best life: eating cleaner, moving more, sleeping better. This leads me to the next challenge.
Work Toward a better night’s sleep
- Routine – establish a reasonable bedtime and try to stick with every night.
- Warm Drink and Bath – Try drinking a warm herbal tea or warm bath 30-60 minutes before your bedtime, and don’t drink caffeinated drinks after 12 noon.
- Aromatherapy – Use a silent essential oil diffuser to create an atmosphere that is relaxing and spa like.
- Unwind – If you know you are going to bed, at let’s say, 9:30, you should head to your sleep area and get yourself ready for bed, slip under a pair cool sheets and try to relax, meditate or pray before you actually fall asleep.
- Remove – Keep your sleep space uncluttered, free of computers, phones, TV’s and if possible pets, and children. Remove anything that does not promote a restful environment.
- Protect – Get in the habit of wearing ear plugs and an eye mask, especially if you have a partner that snores.
- Keep it cool – Be sure to keep your room cool, studies show that we sleep better when a room is on the cool side.
- Invest – Invest in a few things that will help you sleep better like black out shades, a activity tracker, and a high quality mattress and sheet set.
- Write it down – Keep a journal and write down how you feel when you’ve had a good nights sleep vs. a bad one. Get in touch with how sleep improves your life. i.e – “I’m a kinder Mom,” “I run faster and longer when I’ve had good sleep,” I’m not as snappy to my husband.”
- Prioritize – Establish the emotional and health benefits of good sleep and then make a challenge with yourself to improve your sleep pattern. Start with one small change and build from there.
I’ve heard it said that the invention of the light bulb was the beginning of our sleep problems, but since then even more and more inventions create more and more distractions that prevent us from a good nights sleep. I am up late at night typing this post, so I know first hand how difficult it can be to create good sleep habits. It’s something I am very motivated to change. I know that if I get more quality sleep, I will be a better Mother, Wife, Friend and Runner.
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Other Posts in the Make Your Move Series-
Do you sleep well? Do you have a pre-sleep ritual? Do you track your sleep on an activity devise? What other tips do you have for a good night’s sleep?
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.