If you want to recharge and rejuvenate your body and mind, getting an optimal night of rest is essential. But let’s not stop at just one night. Sleeping enough hours through the night on a regular basis is vital in promoting overall health for your mind and body. But why and how is sleep so important and effective? Sleep is a restorative function that our body performs when we rest. As we go through sleep cycles our body is better able to perform critical duties that enhance our health like promoting antioxidant processes throughout the body, bringing healing to areas in need of repair, sharpening our minds, and boosting our energy. Without the proper amount of sleep each night we will be plagued with fatigue, poor decision making, bad eating habits, and a complete lack of motivation. These side effects of poor sleep can lead to more serious conditions such as obesity, depression, and other serious illnesses. Sleep is vital in maintaining overall health. To unleash the power of a good night’s sleep, consider the following information:
- Go to bed Earlier
An earlier bedtime promotes better quality sleep. Going to bed around midnight or later is a detriment for our bodies because in most cases everyone has to be at work or school the next morning. If we go to sleep too late we cannot achieve the recommended amount of sleep which is 8-10 hours of solid uninterrupted sleep.
Also, our bodies naturally need rest and will send signals that sleep is needed. If we ignore these critical warnings and continue staying awake then our sleep quality will diminish and we won’t reap the ultimate health benefits. Going to bed at an earlier time looks different for everyone but as long as you are in bed before the late hours of the evening you body can achieve a state of proper and effective rest.
Children in particular benefit from sleep the most when they are in bed by 8pm. Anything later and your child may become overtired or begin engaging in over stimulating activities before bed. Sleep is crucial in baby and child development. Make a sleep schedule for babies and children and stick to the routine. Although it is normal to waver from the schedule from time to time, there needs to be an expectation that bedtime and waking times will occur around the same hour each morning and evening.
- Consistent Waking Times
Speaking of waking at the same hour of the day for children, adults should follow the same practice for optimal sleep results. By going to bed around the same time each night and waking at the same time each morning, your body clock stays consistent. This means that your body will eventually become so accustomed to your sleep routine that you will naturally feel tired around the time you need to go to bed, and will have an easier time waking up because your body and mind are trained.
- Manage Naps
While napping is needed on taxing days, they are not necessarily helpful in promoting a good night’s sleep. Many times naps are hard to wake from and can cause oversleeping which interferes with bedtime and staying asleep through the night. Limit your nap times and only reserved daytime sleep for days when you’re especially tired or fatigued.
When it comes to babies and small children there is a saying that “sleep begets sleep”. This translates to the reality that children actually need naps during the day to sleep better at night. Sleeping as previously mentioned is crucial to proper development of body and mind in children. Usually letting children and babies enjoy more rest is beneficial to their overall growth. Naps should be monitored and moderated if you feel they are interfering with your child’s nighttime sleep. As babies grow and children develop, they begin to drop and shorten their naps. They will show signs of being done with napping as they age.
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- Room Conditions Matter
The final step in cultivating an atmosphere of rejuvenation in sleep is to sleep in a cool and dark environment. The optimal room temperature for good sleep is between 65-68 degrees fahrenheit. Blinds, shades, and curtains should be closed to create a dark space that won’t be intrusive when the sun rises. Keep all electronics including your cell phone and television off for the night because the blue light they emanate inhibits sleep and over-stimulates your brain and causes frequent wakings.