Ahh sleep-refreshing, rejuvenating and elusive? Our heads hit the pillow after a long day and we just want to relax. We collapse, find that comfortable spot and drift to dreamland, right? Wrong. For many people, especially those who are older, sleep becomes more elusive with age. Scientists and the medical community are educating us all on the importance of sleep for our bodies and brains. So how can we sleep well?
This generation is trending toward less sleep than many before it. Technology advances, never ending options for entertainment and commerce, fear of missing out, bodily changes as we age, are all reasons to explain why we are sleeping less. Sleep plays a pivotal role in our body and mind wellness, yet the processes aren’t fully known.
One things researchers do know about sleep is that is provides a virtual rewind and organizational component to brain and memory wellness. When we get enough sleep, these brain functions occur naturally and assist memory. When we don’t, things get backed up and just like a messy desk or an overgrown garden, it takes longer to be more efficient in our efforts the next day.
We know we need to sleep in order to function well in mind and body, yet our actions don’t always fit our wishes. I’m a perfect example.
I need at least seven hours of sleep to function optimally but that is a rare occurrence. Getting up early for school, work or summer events, carving out a bit of quiet time for myself and/or being so used to getting up early I can’t sleep late anymore are a few of the reasons why I often don’t make that seven hour mark.
My fitness tracker also monitors my sleep and sometimes I catch up a bit on weekends, but my average sleep amount still usually falls short of those refreshing seven. And I feel it. Some days I’m just not physically or mentally sharp due to my lesser sleeping time. Getting to bed and sleep sooner is always a goal and I have made a dent.
My bedtime goal is earlier than it used to be. I’ve learned to manage the thoughts that sometimes make falling asleep difficult. I’ve adjusted my diet, our bedroom and our bed to make them more conducive to sleep. My motivation is not only to keep my body refreshed but also my brain and memory.
So here are a few tips that can help us to grab even just a few more moments of precious sleep:
- Keep a regular bedtime and wake schedule. Your body will then automatically sense when it’s time to sleep and awaken more naturally.
- Keep your bedroom about sleep. Don’t exercise, eat, watch TV, scroll the internet or be on any other electronic device before trying to get some sleep. Eliminating these things sets the tone to wind down and relax.
- Let go of what threatens the drift-off factor. Whether it’s thoughts, worries, moving around, or loud noises adjacent to your bedroom, let them go. Write down or pray about worries or things to do, find a comfy spot and try to stay there and control the noise. These will assist you to drift into dreamland more easily.
- Control your evening actions. Don’t exercise or eat a big meal. Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine right before bedtime. All of these can interfere with a more natural wind down time in the evenings.
- Work on what you can and when all else fails, talk to your doctor. There are many things we can control but if you’ve tried them all, see if your doctor has another solution. Maybe it’s adjusting your medications or trying another sleep producing alternative, but seek professional help if necessary.
Quality sleep is paramount in our efforts toward wellness in our body and mind. If we truly want to savor these last moments in our #SummerToRemember, we need to get enough sleep. See if these help with your sleep and overall memory and let’s remember our summer moments well!