It’s 2019. By now, we’ve heard the constant drumbeat of why wellness, and mindfulness and other-ness’ are essential to our well-being. We “so can relate” to the barrage of imagery depicting the stressed and frizzy employee (and parent). We vehemently nod “yes!” when an assortment of memes, pithy quotes and Ted Talk® videos remind us that we must take time for ourselves. We schedule tea time, staycations, and assign “Me time” to coffee breaks and short walks around the jobsite.
We know we need sleep. We know what it feels like to go without it. So why is it still so hard for us to just go to sleep?
Experts at Sleep.org believe this is due to not being intentional about including sleep in our daily routine. When we are not consistent with our daily activities – especially sleep, it’s harder for our mind and body to “prepare for and anticipate” the event.
“…our bodies crave consistency. With regular daily activities, our various body systems are able to prepare for an anticipate events. These events serve to anchor our underlying rhythms.”
So, how can we invite sleep back in?
If we want consistent sleep we have to plan for it. This means, if we want to be asleep at 10pm we should start preparing our bodies for sleep at 9. Easy steps like turning off the TV, powering down our devices, taking a hot bath or just including all of the “before bedtime activities” in that hour before.
But even after all of this…we wait.
Well at least in the beginning. Like all habit forming activities, reaping the benefits of adding sleep to your routine will take some time.
“Your body will need time to adjust to your sleep schedule, so don’t give up if you feel tired for the first few days. Keep smartphones, tablets, and other devices out of the bedroom at night. These devices emit blue light that interferes with your circadian rhythm and makes it harder for your body to adjust to your new sleeping schedule.” (Som.sleep, 2018)
Som Sleep also suggests to avoid sleeping in on the weekends. “We know how tempting this can be. It’s perfectly fine to sleep in a little bit on Saturdays and Sundays, but don’t spend the day in bed simply because you can. Your body will never adjust to a set sleeping schedule if your weekend schedule is drastically different from your weekday ZZZs.”
A few late nights here or there is part of life. Especially if you are a parent of little ones. Helping them learn a routine will impact your sleep schedule as well. However, committing to a sleep schedule will not only improve the quality of your sleep but also studies suggest, your quality of life. Stay tuned to learn more about how to remain consistent with your sleep behavior, even while you are away from home.