When you are undergoing treatment or recovering from a prolonged illness, quality sleep is of paramount importance. When we sleep, our body rejuvenates its systems by regenerating its cells through the production of the anti-aging human growth hormone, known as HGH. During waking hours, this is harder for our bodies to accomplish. When we miss out on sleep, we deny ourselves this important part of the healing process. Lack of sleep increases the risks of a weakened immune system, inflammation, memory loss and reduced cognitive abilities, among many other detrimental effects.
While it is easy to say we “need a good night’s sleep,” and we may want to crawl into bed more than anything in the world, it can be hard to actually put getting the proper amount of rest into practice. Medication and its side effects can additionally create seemingly insurmountable obstacles to getting those precious Zs.
Here are some of our favorite tips to help the weary get some rest:
Cut off the caffeine by 2 pm and don’t drink alcohol. Both of these are great sleep disturbers.
Try to stick to a consistent schedule so your body has a better shot of getting into a rhythm. Even if you can’t sleep, try to at least rest during the same timeframe every night.
Unwind. Take a hot bath, read a book, listen to some music. Tune out the technology: turn off the TV, set down your cell phone, and close your eyes. “Simply Being” is a great meditation app on the iTunes store (.99 cents!) that focuses on relaxation as you try to fall asleep.
Take note of your environment. A cool room, white noise, and no pets or kids in bed can help. Blackout curtains, an eye mask and ear plugs also make a world of difference
Watch what you eat and drink. Don’t have a heavy meal or drink a lot of fluids after 8:00 pm. Less trips to the loo in the middle of the night means more precious shut eye!
Regular exercise. If that means just a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood with the dog, a trip to the gym, or parking as far away from the grocery store entrance as possible, any physical exercise that you get during the day will give you a better shot of restful sleep at night.
I struggle with sleeping every night. The medication I take gives me hot flashes that hit every hour on the hour during the time when most people are getting their deepest sleep. I used to take sleeping pills, but I didn’t like how they made me feel in the morning-groggy and out of it. While they can be a viable short-term option, they are widely known to have addictive qualities, so be careful. And please don’t mix them!
My husband gave me an “UP” wristband by Jawbone that not only helps me keep track of my exercise each day, but also my sleep patterns at night (“UP” by Jawbone $129.99 www.jawbone.com).
When I can see in black and white that I really did sleep deeply for four hours, my mind is forced to believe it! I am diligent about going to bed around the same time each night and following the tips above to do everything I can to set myself up for some good, restorative sleep.
If your partner is a deep sleep, snoring kind of person, then go bunk up in another room a few nights per week just to ensure some real quality shut eye. You aren’t offending your sweetie, I promise. They want you to be rested just as much as you do. Most of us do not realize how sleep deprived we are, so we eat more, drink copious amounts of caffeine, pay less attention and jeopardize our health when we don’t make the effort to get enough sleep.
The first step to getting better is getting rest. So take some time to set yourself up for the best sleep scenario you can and take better care of you!
© 2013 Group G Enterprises, LLC