We all do it. Hit the snooze button at least once instead of rising with our alarm. It’s a mechanism many of us use to grab just a few more moments of sleep. While we may drift off for a few seconds, more often we lie in a semi-conscious fog, simply not wanting to get up. Soon, ten, twenty, even sixty minutes are snooze buttoned away. Enough! Don’t hit the snooze button-let’s get up, address our sleep issues and enjoy more memorable moments.
Sleep is the next brain healthy habit on our list. As important as sleep is to our bodies, sleep is almost more crucial to our brains. Our brains don’t rest in the traditional sense while we sleep. As we go through sleep phases, the brain uses this time to organize, consolidate, and refresh our memory. Sleep’s importance to our overall brain wellness cannot be underestimated.
At the same time, there is a time and place for sleep. Staying up until we’re exhausted and falling asleep watching TV isn’t useful to our overall quality of sleep. Frustration trying to fall asleep and/or consistently hitting the snooze button isn’t productive either. A balance is needed.
Those who maintain a sleep routine often experience more restful sleep and more productive wake time. Adults should strive for both quality and quantity of sleep between seven to nine hours with the same bedtime and waking time. My goal is seven hours, but I typically get around six and a half. It’s a continual process for me. Find your happy amount, ideally closer to eight hours. Plan for it consistently and soon your body will adjust to a routine.
Here are a few sleep habits which can make the difference between a good, quality sleep experience and one that leaves our bodies and brains foggy.
- Create a haven for sleep. Fresh sheets, comfortable blankets, pillows and room temperature are important to induce and keep us asleep. Do you need it darker or lighter, perfectly quiet or with a little white noise? Find what works. Also avoid doing other things in your bed like eating, working, or watching TV. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep and you’ll sleep better.
- Wind down in the evenings. Excitement, big meals, and challenging physical and mental activities should ideally happen earlier in the day or evening. Allow your body and mind to relax as bedtime approaches and it will be easier to fall and stay asleep.
- Exercise. People who work out regularly have better concentration during the day and sleep at night. Some studies even show working out in the hours before sleep are beneficial. However, to gain the most benefits of exercise including improved mood, activity earlier in the day is a better choice.
- Don’t hit the snooze button. Hitting the snooze button typically means we aren’t well rested. This can stem from a myriad of physical (medical, hormonal, pain) and emotional (stress, worry, depression, feeling overwhelmed) reasons. Instead of hitting the snooze button, let’s look for why we’re doing it. Why is our sleep quality or quantity lacking? Addressing our sleep and/or other issues may need some professional input. After addressing some of the obvious factors, ask your doctor for help. The solution may be a simple or complex but not addressing it will only perpetuate the problem.
Sleep is a crucial part of living. It’s a necessary component to our wellness and one we can’t ignore. Let’s not hit the snooze button. Instead let’s seek to identify and manage our sleep issues and move forward into more memorable moments.