The medical community tells us that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. I need at least 7.5 hours to be my best self. Young children need 11 to 12 hours of sleep a night and teens need 8.5 to 9.25 sleep-hours. Many of us do not get enough sleep.
There are a variety of ways to improve the quality of your sleep and the amount of sleep you get each night. Begin with consistency – same time to bed, same time to rise. Consistency gets our bodies into a wake/sleep pattern that serves us better than random sleep patterns. Look at where you sleep. Does your sleep environment create a sense of peace, comfort and safety? If not, what can you do to improve your sleep environment? For instance, I like to sleep in dark rooms. As a result, I have black-out curtains in the bedroom and have been known to put bath towels over hotel windows that are letting in too much night-time light for me to sleep well.
The right bed and bedding makes a difference too. Think of the three-bears story: “this bed is too soft, this bed is too hard, this bed is just right.” Mattress firmness and pillow support is different for all of us and is a part of our nesting routine for overnight sleep and sick-day resting space. Bedding options abound these days: mattress pads, mattress toppers, down mattress pad-toppers, Egyptian cotton, percale, flannel, jersey, bamboo, and many more fabric choices are to be found. Some people change bedding seasonally with flannel in the winter and another fabric in the summer. Freshly laundered, even pressed, sheets can be just the invitation needed for restful sleep. What’s your favorite mattress and bedding?
Electronics of all kinds can detract from sound sleep. That’s why many phones now have a night-time light setting. Depending on how you use electronic devices they can be calming and sleep inducing or can leave you feeling riled up, agitated, and unable to sleep. Again, protect your environment so that your sleep needs are met.
Calming activities before getting into bed include: a shower, reading, a cup of caffeine-free tea, meditation, or restful activity that works best for you. When in bed, best-practice recommendations range from “only sleep in bed – no reading, no television, no electronics” to “relaxing activity such as reading is okay.” Experiment with what works best for you. I’ve discovered that sometimes I get into bed and am quickly asleep, which other times reading gets my mind relaxed and allows me to doze off into restful sleep.
Whatever your best-sleep practices are, be consistent. Your body, brain, and soul will thank you for getting enough and good-quality sleep in a variety of good-health ways. Sleep well for sleep is an important nesting and healthy life habit!
As an author, facilitator, community contributor, business owner, and empty-nest step-parent, Jana watches for the ways in which we nest to create HOME and shares her discoveries in the blog Nesting.
Nesting: is a blog about the objects and experiences that create a sense of home. Without home, it is difficult to maintain health, find joy, or to be productive during our workdays. Enjoy the Nesting series of blogs as you search for your deep sense of home. –Jana