Each year many of us make New Year’s Resolutions and each year many of these resolutions are related to our health. Whether it’s to lose weight, exercise more or connect more with those we love, upleveling our health is always an activity that pays great dividends over the course of our lives. But there is one uncommon health resolution that might be the best place to start as we kick off a new year: your sleep. Like the overlooked middle child of the wellness world, oftentimes we don’t think much about our sleep, or if we do, we think there is nothing much we can do to improve it. We tend to give ourselves labels like, “I’m just a light sleeper,” reflecting a mindset that how we sleep is some sort of genetic destiny. Couple that with the fact that no one ever really teaches us about sleep – how it works, what is happening in your body and how you can help optimize it so that you get the best rest possible.
That topic is too large for one blog post, but I can just suggest learning more about it because you spend so much of your life sleeping. The reason better sleep makes a great resolution for the new year is because if you can improve your sleep, it becomes the foundation for everything else in your life. It’s easier to prep meals, make it to the gym, connect with your loved ones and do every single other thing you want to do when you’re well rested. When you’re not well-rested everything feels like pushing a boulder uphill.
I hope I’ve sold you a little on paying closer attention to your sleep as we move into the winter months. Here are some specific tips that can help you get the rest you need:
Lower the temperature of your room – most of us get our best sleep in a room that is slightly cooler vs. too warm.
Ditch the big comforter – sleeping under layers of bedding allows your body to stay at a comfortable temperature vs. a heavy comforter that just makes you hot and then you kick it off and are too cold. With a sheet, cotton blanket and quilt you can add or remove layers as needed to always be nice and cozy.
Breathe through your nose – our bodies are designed to breathe through our noses. If you’re a mouth sleeper you’re not getting proper oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange which has long-term affects on your health.
Keep your cellphone out of your bedroom — your cellphone emits harmful nnEMF radiation which can impact your cellular function in a negative way. Always keep it in another room away from your bed and keep it on airplane mode at night.
Consider blue light blocking glasses in the evening – the bluelight from your phone, table or laptop make your brain think it’s daytime and interrupt your ability to wind down gently. Wearing blue light blocking glasses after sunset gets around the problem.
Upgrade your sleeping environment – take a look around your bedroom. Is it a peaceful space? Does it make you feel calm? Is your bed comfortable? Is your pillow supportive? If the answer to any of these questions is no, fix them. Your ideal sleep space should be reflective of you and make you feel supported, comfortable and happy.
Barbara Wayman, APR
BlueTree Media, LLC