In today's culture of busyness, sleep is often the first thing we feel we can sacrifice, in order to get a workout in, or finish that briefing note for tomorrow's meeting. However when we miss sleep we pay a price with our ability to learn, our health and safety, and our quality of life. Sleep is a highly active process, which helps the body process the day's events and works to restore us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sleep is as important to your health as diet, nutrition and exercise. Getting the right amount of sleep is critical for our immune function, metabolism, memory, and learning.
Healthy sleep habits
1. Create a relaxing evening routine before going to bed. Take some time to unwind. Suggestions include meditation, deep breathing, or even a hot bath. Additionally avoid intense light sources
(looking at you electronic devices!)
2. Avoid beverages containing caffeine, like coffee and energy drinks, later
in the day. While the length of time it takes the body to process caffeine varies,
in healthy adults, the half-life is approximately 5 to 6 hours. An after dinner coffee will likely make it hard for you to fall asleep just a few hours later.
3. Keep it regular. Experts say a regular schedule is the most essential element of a healthy sleep routine. Keep bedtime and morning wake up times consistent, even on weekends.
4. Get the proper amount of sleep. Adults need 7 to 9 hours. So if you get up at 6 am every morning, you should aim go to sleep around 9-10 pm.
5. Turn off all electronic devices. Further to number one above, for the brain to recharge at night and do its work, it can't be interrupted. Even when on silent
the screen lighting up in the dark can disrupt your sleep. Make sure your electronics are off and out of sight before settling down for the night.
Mindfulness the intentional practice of being fully present moment-by-moment. In the moment we are fully aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations; where we are and the surrounding environment.
1. Set aside some time. No special equipment is required, you just need to set aside some time and space.
2. Observe the present moment as it is. The goal is not achieving a zen like state of eternal calm but rather to give attention to the present moment, without judgement.
3. Let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
4. Return to observing the present moment as it is. We often can get lost as our train of thoughts takes over. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
5. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.