We often hear a variety of mantras about sleep. “Get up early.” “Work through the night.” “Don’t ever take naps.” If we all ascribed ultimate truth to even a single sleep rule, it could create a sense of imbalance. So many rules governing sleep can contradict and possibly harm us. No one thing is right for everyone. Sleep, like so many other health-related concerns, varies from person to person. This means we all should find the aspects of sleep to which our body responds best.
Going to bed
Our bodies crave routine, but modern technologies often seem to hinder our attempts at getting the sleep we need. Many medical professionals advise clean sleep hygiene. This means attempting to be in the bed at approximately the same time nightly. The body and mind recognize the routine and it triggers the relaxation process. It is also important to avoid the ever pervasive “screens” as they engage the optic nerve and stimulate brain chemistry to make us remain awake and engaged. It is far better to shut down the computer, tablet, and television. The emails and shows can wait until tomorrow.
Getting out of bed
Since the snooze bar feature became available on our modern clocks, the temptation to delay the start of our day has increased. People cite numerous reasons for using the bar. Some believe the extra sleep helps them feel more rested. Others dread facing what they have in store for them that day. One of the major keys to waking up rested is a continuous night’s sleep. Waking and snoozing provides little, if any, restful benefits. A better strategy is to set the alarm for ten minutes after the earliest time a person wants to arise. The extra ten minutes will be added to your night’s uninterrupted sleep.
During the day
A quick thirty-minute nap can be a beneficial thing. Numerous studies show how the human body benefits from a short nap during the middle of the day. It resets aspects of the brain, allowing sharper thinking and greater alertness. Also, the body craves natural light during the day. The need becomes important as more people find themselves trapped in their offices under fluorescent bulbs. A walk at lunch or sitting outside right after work alters brain chemistry. The sunlight also boosts your vitamin D level as well.
One of the main things about finding your personal sleep pattern is to experiment with various aspects of your sleep while striving for a night of uninterrupted sleep. Stick with new variations for a few weeks, letting your body get used to it and not jerking it from one side to the other. Once landing on the right pattern, give your body what it needs because then it will take care of you. The important thing is to go easy. Beating yourself up over getting more sleep or the right kind of sleep will only serve to prevent you from getting what you need.