The Importance of Sleep and How to Get More of It

How To Sleep Better. Karlie Kloss, Vogue, Karlie Kloss Vogue

Sleep is something that a number of people struggle with for a wide variety of reasons. And if that’s true for you, it’s something you shouldn’t overlook.  Adequate sleep is integral to both our physical and mental health. Our bodies need time to rest in order to recover and rejuvenate and that’s what sleep is all about. Let's talk about why sleep is so important and why you’ll benefit from getting more of it. There’s much more to the entire sleep process and what it does for your body than people realize. And once you understand the  the importance of sleep, learn what you can do improve your sleep.

Benefits of Sleep

Boost Your Immune System
The first and perhaps the most important way in which sleep is important to your body and your health is in the way in which it boosts your immune system. There are so many great reasons why you should want your immune system to be strong and working optimally. It’ll be much better prepared and better able to fight off infection and illnesses, meaning you’ll spend less time feeling unwell and having to take time off work. And sleep really does have a major impact on how your entire immune system is able to function.

Improves Productivity Through the Day
When you get a good night’s sleep, it has a direct effect on the way in which you’re able to perform and work during the day. A good sleep completely reinvigorates and reenergizes you, helping you to stay focused and at the top of your game for the rest of the day. If you want to make sure you’re always able to deliver your best at work and when looking after your family, you need to make sure that you’re getting a full night’s sleep the night before. If you don’t, you’ll feel sluggish and distracted throughout the day and nobody wants that.

Long-Term Health Benefits
There are many long-term health benefits that are associated with getting the right amount of sleep on a regular basis. We can see this in how many different studies have linked a lack of sleep to an increased risk for condition such as strokes and heart disease. It’s also been found that people who don’t sleep well at night are more likely to suffer problems relating to obesity and metabolic diseases like diabetes.

Your Own Safety
Your safety can also be put at risk if you’re not getting enough sleep at night. This can be manifested in the way in which we’re all more likely to have accidents when we’re tired. Getting behind the wheel of a car is obviously very unsafe if you’re tired and is not something that should ever be done. Unfortunately many people do this regardless and that when serious accidents can occur. 


Ways To Improve Your Sleep

Exercise During the Day
Exercising during the day is not only good for you, it can also help you to feel more tired at night. So if one of your problems is that you never really feel tired when you go to bed at night, you can try to resolve this by exercising more during the day. If you can't get in a workout, maybe you can go for a run in the early evening or simply try to walk more and stay on your feet more throughout the day. There are lots of different approaches you can take to this, but be sure to exercise and be as active as you can if you want to make sure you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.

Keep the Bedroom Comfortable
The bedroom needs to be as comfortable as possible if you’re going to get to sleep easily as well. It might sound obvious but if you haven’t made an upgrade to your bedding in a long time or it’s been a while since you had your mattress replaced, you should think about whether that needs to change. A good mattress that’s supportive and comfortable in line with your own preferences is always important. So do what you can to make the entire environment as quiet and conducive to sleep as it can be for you.

And Reserve it for Sleep
Your bedroom also needs to be a space that’s reserved primarily for sleep. If you’re hanging out on your bed and watching TV there, you won’t associate the bed with sleep so much, and that can be a problem for your sleeping habits. Ideally, you should remove any and all unnecessary tech and clutter from the bedroom because those things just distract you from what you should be doing when you’re in your bedroom and in bed: sleeping. You can put your tech and devices in other rooms and reserve your entertainment for those spaces.

Make Use of Meditation Techniques
One of the best things you can do to help yourself relax and get more sleep is meditation. It’s something that most people haven’t tried but it's worth considering as it also helps to calm anxiety and improve focus. There are different methods to meditate and some of them are specifically designed to help you sleep better at night. This guide on 5 sleep meditation techniques from Openfit should give you a good place to start if you want to find out more about meditating to aid sleep.

Create a Sleep Routine
Creating a good sleep routine will help you to wind down and prepare your body to sleep. You should have a solid routine and a regular bedtime  in place to promote proper sleep hygiene and consistent quality sleep. It’s no good to get a full night’s sleep one night but then barely sleeping the next few nights because you don't have a routine that helps your body get ready for sleep. So once you’ve found a routine that helps you to fall asleep and stay asleep, you need to make it a habit that you stick to.

Avoid Caffeine Late in the Day
Avoiding caffeine late in the day is crucial. Even though this might sound obvious to some people, it’s worth repeating and emphasizing. A simple cup of coffee in the afternoon or following your dinner in the evening can have an impact on how well you’re able to sleep. So try to avoid drinking anything that contains any caffeine late in the day. Some people go as far as not drinking any caffeine at all after midday, but that all depends on how your body reacts to caffeine. Find the balance that works for you and doesn’t keep you awake at night.

Relax and De-Stress Before Going to Bed
Before you turn in for bed, you should take the time to relax and unwind. Being in a relaxed frame of mind before you go to sleep makes it easier for you to fall asleep. That’s because you won’t have your mind full of thoughts and distractions as it’s these things that often stop you from being able to get to sleep at night. So it's best to relax and de-stress a few hours before you try to sleep. You don’t want to be taking your stress and worries into the bedroom with you.

Resist Napping
If you’re someone who’s often tempted to nap during the day that’s something that you might want to reconsider. When you’re falling asleep during the day and staying asleep for a few hours, it can make it more difficult for you to also get a full sleep night of sleep. So the simple solution here is to just eliminate napping from your daily routine altogether. Your focus instead should be on staying active during the day and saving your rest hours for the night, when you can hopefully sleep all the way through to the morning. If you get enough sleep at night, you won't find yourself needing to nap during the day.

Keep the Room Relatively Cool
You should think about the temperature in the room where you’re going to be sleeping. Keeping the room cool is ideal because a warm environment can make it harder for your body's core temperature to drop in order to initiate sleep. Staying cool is also conducive to people staying asleep and sleeping more soundly. If the temperature is too warm, it can prevent you from falling and staying asleep because you become uncomfortable. Of course, everyone has their own needs and preferences, so experiment and see which precise temperature works best for you.

Try any or all of these methods to get yourself into a place where you can sleep more and sleep better. Sleep has many benefits for our overall wellbeing and long term health, so everyone should make it a priority to optimize and get the most out of it.

This is a contributed post.
Photo: Vogue

1 comment

R's Rue said...

Thank you for these tips. I hope incorporating these tips does in fact aid my sleep which has not been optimal lately. Have a wonderful Monday full of hope, joy and love.