People today are more likely to realize the importance of getting a good night’s sleep because of the scientific research that has shown how sleep affects out bodies.
The research has shown that sleep has a major impact on our health and well being, affecting everything from the immune system to our mental health. It also enables the body to repair itself, regenerating new cells. Not getting enough sleep increases levels of stress hormones and puts you at greater risk for mood disorders and heart disease and diabetes.
It can have a big impact at work as well. A sleep deficit slows thinking processes and makes it harder to concentrate. It also leads to more bad decisions.
So, if you are having trouble getting to sleep, or getting enough sleep, how can you improve the situation? Here are a few ideas.
1. Give yourself enough time to get ready for bed.
We often think we can get to bed in less time than it actually takes. Determine how long it actually takes you to get ready for bed, and then give yourself enough time so that you can be in bed when you plan to be.
Often, before going to bed, we remember things that we should have done earlier, like taking out the garbage, or putting some dishes in the dishwasher. You may take the dog for a walk. So, you need to factor these things in, as well as taking into account how long your pre-bedtime routine is.
2. Take some time to wind down.
About an hour or so before bedtime, try to begin relaxing to help you fall asleep. There are various things you can do to help relax – taking a warm bath, doing some light reading, drinking warm milk. But you should avoid anything strenuous mental or physical activity. Stay away from your computer screen and TV, as these things tend to keep you awake.
3. Avoid temptation.
For example, we all like to read in bed a little before falling off. But beware of bringing that page-turner of a thriller that you can’t put down to bed with you, as this will probably prevent you from sticking to your planned bedtime.
Stay away from the computer later in the evening as well, as this tends to push back bedtime.
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