Sleep is something we all love and need but often don’t get enough of. Research shows that sleep is important for both our mental and physical health. Our bodies need sleep to repair themselves, process information and store our memories. Feeling rested is necessary to perform at our best, manage our moods and function better overall. March is Sleep Awareness Month, here are some great tips to help you get better sleep:
- Follow a nightly routine: Make a bedtime routine for yourself and follow it consistently. Things like putting your pajamas on, brushing your teeth and washing your face should be done in the same order.
- Wind down before bed: Add winding down for 30 minutes to your nightly routine. Try reading before bed, a light stretching exercise or even taking a bath. Make sure to dim the lights if possible, bright lights can hinder your body from producing melatonin, a hormone necessary to help you fall asleep.
- Unplug from your devices: Avoid using electronics 30-60 minutes before going to bed. More than any other colour, blue light suppresses your body’s ability to release melatonin. Also, being away from your devices will help reduce mental stimulation!
- A busy mind will keep you up: Often, worries and items on our to-do list we have not dealt with, can keep us up at night. Set time apart in the evening to resolve any concerns before bedtime. Write down what is on your mind and put it aside for the next day. Managing your stress can start with the basics like getting organized, identifying priorities, asking for help, and even meditating.
- Create a peaceful sleeping environment: Falling asleep is generally easier in a quiet, cool, and dark room. Try using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan, or other devices to ensure your sleeping environment suits your needs. Consider lowering your thermostat a couple degrees before going to sleep. Your body naturally lowers its temperature when you are asleep; making your room a little bit chilly will help with this natural temperature drop.
- Comfort matters: We spend a lot of time in our beds, and we know sleeping and feeling rested is integral to our health and quality of life. Invest in creating the most comfortable sleeping area possible for you. Consider purchasing a good pillow and bedding that comforts you. We all have different sleeping needs and preferences, so make sure you pick what’s right for you!
- Watch what you eat and drink: Eat a few hours before bed to avoid going to bed hungry or too full. Caffeine and nicotine should also be consumed cautiously due to the stimulating effects they have that can take hours to wear off and make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid alcohol before bed as well, although it might help you fall asleep faster, it can disrupt your sleep cycle throughout the night and make it harder to get quality sleep.
- Have a fixed wake-up time: This goes hand-in-hand with having a bedtime routine. When possible, have a set time you wake up everyday and even one for the weekend! Make sure you schedule 8 hours for sleep a night regardless of your wake-up time. Being consistent with your sleep schedule helps with reinforcing your sleep-wake cycle.
- Know when to see a doctor: If you have persistent problems with your sleep, seeing a doctor may be a good idea. They will be able to provide you with specific remedies to help you and identify any other health concerns.
We know that sleeping is important for many reasons and it is possible to improve your quality of sleep. Being a trucking company that runs 24/7, we have many employees who are working different shifts and many long haul drivers who sleep in their bunk and have to contend with noises and distractions outside their control. Although using all of these tips may not be realistic for you, try out a few this week and keep a written log of how it helps!
If you have any good tips that work for you, please leave a comment!