Sleep: The Best Medicine
Picture this. A long day of working from 8 to 5, you probably skipped breakfast or had a rushed lunch. Finish work only to get home cook dinner, help with homework and act as chauffeur to soccer practice. Where is the time to regroup, meditate and become one with yourself? You guessed it, there is no time. Just more tasks to complete.
Americans have a reputation as being workaholics. We work long hours, pack in way too many extra activities for ourselves and our children and our health suffers tremendously because of it. In fact, a new study revealed just how much being overworked without ample sleep has affected us. A new study published in this week’s journal SLEEP, finds that people who sleep less than six hours are more likely to catch a cold. They found that those who slept less than five hours were 4.5 times more likely to have a cold than those who slept seven hours. Only 18% of those who slept six or more hours got a cold, while 39% of those slept less than six hours got the virus. Sleep is vital to proper immune system function but it is also vital to proper psychological functioning.
Ways to get more sleep.
1. Find a bedtime ritual that works for you
Warm milk? A glass of wine? No, thank you. Even though these drinks are commonly recommended to help fall asleep, I have never found them helpful. I say find the routine that works for you, whatever it is. Get in the habit of sticking to the routine every night.
For me, it’s the simple act of cleaning the house, turning off all the lights, picking up the clutter and reviewing the next day’s schedule. Feeling organized about the house helps me feel less anxious. This simple routine tells my body that it’s time to close down for the day. Find what helps you feel less anxious at the end of the day and own your nightly ritual.
2. Block out noise
White noise is restful, and even more importantly, it means that I won’t be woken up with every little thump that the house makes.
3. Schedule your worry
Schedule a daily “worry time” well before you go to sleep. Choose a 15-30 minute period at the same time every day when you try to think of every possible worry, and then tell them to a trusted confidant or write them out in a journal and be done with them until that time the following day.
4. Make your room colder
Your body needs to cool down in order to fall asleep and stay asleep, so do what you can to make your room cool. I like being bundled up, so a cool room enables that as well.
J, D. (2015). Sleep: The Best Medicine. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 23, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/diary-therapist/2015/09/sleep-the-best-medicine/