May is commemorated as Better Sleep Month. Whether someone’s young and still growing or are older and settled, sleep remains an important part of everyone’s life. The overall recommended amount of sleep people need every night is between 7-8 hours of time, though if a person’s younger or participating in physical activity, getting closer to 9 hours is strongly suggested. Sleep is a necessary and crucial function of a person’s body, as it not only prepares a person for their day but also washes away toxic proteins and waste produced by brain cells. It also is a time for the body to grow, heal, and burn fat. But, despite these reasons for getting a good night’s rest, more and more people are finding it hard to fall into a deep, and restful sleep.
Because of today’s use of artificial light and screens, the body’s natural cycle of sleep is interrupted and a person’s mind can’t shut off when they try to rest at night, hence counting sheep to try and fall asleep. The body basically thinks that it’s daytime and it needs to stay awake, not fall asleep. This causes increasing periods of restlessness among many, many people, and though a small amount has adapted to this way of life, and even found pride in their lack of sleep, the majority is unhappy and not at their best. Periods of unrest are also proven to cause detrimental health problems in a person’s brain and even result in contracting a sickness from an immune system working overtime because of too little sleep. Waking up groggy doesn’t just mean someone went to bed late either; it also means their body didn’t have enough time to wash out all the toxins and waste from their brain.
And, though these reasons are concerning, some people still believe they are the exception to the rule and that they can get less sleep because they aren’t affected by these problems. Unfortunately, this belief is untrue; no matter a person’s age, body, gender, and ethnicity, these problems still apply at some level which is enough to cause harm to someone’s body and mind, whether they know it or not.
Mayo Clinic has created several great tips to help get a better night’s rest. They are:
- Create and stick to a sleep schedule of 7-8 hours even over the weekends. If you can’t fall asleep in approximately 20 minutes of hitting the sack, do something relaxing and then try sleeping again.
- Don’t eat too much before bed or not eat at all as the discomfort could mess with your sleep. Try not to consume caffeine and nicotine before bed either as these keep your mind and body active and decrease the quality of your sleep.
- Make your room stress and distraction-free environment. This includes all devices and distracting objects. Mayo Clinic recommends a cool, dark, and quiet space, with little to no light.
- Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes at most and earlier in the day.
- Participating in physical activity or spending time outdoors can help your sleep too.
- Try to work out your anxieties and worries before bed. This could mean talking to someone or writing down your problems to leave for tomorrow. Stress management can also help relax as well.
This month, remember how important sleep is to your body, and spread the word to everyone you know. Happy Better Sleep Month!
Mayo Clinic. (1998-2019). Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379.
Nutreance. (2019). These 2 Little-Known Compounds Are the Reason Why You Can’t Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.nutreance.com/articles/rediniteutm_medium=google_display&utm_campaign=redinite_us_content&utm_source=www.whathealth.com&utm_term=sleep%20disorder&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuemCtbj_4QIVmhcBCh3ztwKIEAEYASAAEgI75PD_BwE.
What Health. (2019). Better Sleep Month 2019. Retrieved from http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/bettersleepmonth.html.