Most of us are sleep deprived on some level. Some of us don't get enough sleep hours. Many of us don't get enough rejuvenating sleep when we do drift off.
When we lack restful sleep, our brains are affected. Our ability to focus, concentrate and make appropriate decisions is compromised. Sleep deprivation negatively affects every aspect of our lives. Our relationships, our job performance and our happiness. People who are sleep deprived are not generally happy people.
There is an art to preparing our bodies for sleep. A ritual, even. Here are some do's and dont's:
- Have a set bedtime and wake up time. Stick to it as much as possible.
- Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Better yet, eliminate them. Both require your body to break them down during your sleep cycle, which interferes with your body's ability to sleep restfully.
- Remove the TV from your bedroom. Not just so you don't watch it, but also because it emits an electromagnetic field that can adversely affect your sleep patterns. In fact, remove all your electronics from the bedroom. Recharge your electronic/digital devices in a room that isn't where you sleep.
- Start to unwind 15 - 30 minutes before bedtime. No chores. Nothing that requires a burst of energy to complete.
- Meditate before going to bed. Make it a very relaxing meditation.
- Have a cup of camomile tea about an hour before bedtime. Camomile can make you sleepy.
- Darken your sleeping space. The darkness will help to trigger your brain for sleep.
- Do not bring work to bed. The idea is to make your bed a place to sleep, not work.
- Read before bedtime. If you like to read before sleep, read in a chair, not in bed.
- If you can't sleep after half an hour, get up from bed, but don't turn the TV or electronics on. Sit quietly. Consider #4 or #5. Then go back to bed. This will train your brain to see the bed as the sleeping place, not a thinking place.