Our healthy habit of the week is SLEEP! Enough and good quality sleep!
Sleep helps us maintain good mental and physical health. Our bodies and minds repair themselves while we sleep and prepare us for the day to come, with enough energy and mental fitness for the day’s activities. Poor sleep, or not enough of it, is linked to so many things like low immune system function and some mental illnesses! So it’s important to get enough good quality sleep in our lives!
Sometimes we let work and family commitments get in the way of good sleep and we shouldn’t! There never seems to be enough hours in the day, right?! That means change what you are doing during the day, not eat into your sleep time! So that’s tip number one. Assess your routine to make sure there’s enough time for a) sleep but b) getting ready for sleep.
Harvard Health also has these other tips for a healthy night’s sleep (every night).
Lifestyle changes. Most people know that caffeine contributes to sleeplessness, but so can alcohol and nicotine. Alcohol initially depresses the nervous system, which helps some people fall asleep, but the effects wear off in a few hours and people wake up. Nicotine is a stimulant, which speeds heart rate and thinking. Giving up these substances is best, but avoiding them before bedtime is another option.
Physical activity. Regular aerobic activity helps people fall asleep faster, spend more time in deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night.
Sleep hygiene. Many experts believe that people learn insomnia, and can learn how to sleep better. Good "sleep hygiene" is the term often used to include tips like maintaining a regular sleep-and-wake schedule, using the bedroom only for sleeping or sex, and keeping the bedroom dark and free of distractions like the computer or television. Some experts also recommend sleep retraining: staying awake longer in order to ensure sleep is more restful.
Relaxation techniques. Meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation (alternately tensing and releasing muscles) can counter anxiety and racing thoughts.
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