Sleep is essential to good health, happiness and even decreased risk of many diseases. Of course, that actually sounds awful when you consider how very little sleep we actually get. I, for one, cannot function on less than 9 hours a night, but I’m an early bird in every definition of the manner. Early to bed, early to rise, early to realize I’m done for the day and ready to make everyone go to bed so that I can follow suit. Others, however, will make sleep their last priority if it means making time for other things in life. It happens; we are busy and we can’t help it (actually, we can help it). Unfortunately, our lack of proper sleep is killing us. So in order to make sure that we don’t kill ourselves any sooner than we already are with the rest of our bad habits, here are a few ways you and the rest of your family can get more sleep at night – more quality sleep, at that.
Create a Routine
If you have a nighttime routine, life is much easier. It’s a much nicer place when you realize that you can do everything that needs doing in the kind of time that requires doing it. Then you get to go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time and keep that routine in check as often as possible. There’s always room for some fun and some routine-breaking, but there’s always a need for scheduling.
Shut it Down
Turn off the television, the electronics and all the things that distract you. The lights from these items make it impossible for you to turn your brain off and get the kind of sleep required to allow you to function at full capacity. Shut it down and get to bed.
Skip the Cocktail
It’s going to be difficult, but alcohol is a stimulant. Skip the dinnertime cocktail and have a glass of water or a cup of calming tea in its place. Or skip the other cocktails and enjoy a glass of red wine (1 glass, 6 ounces) that’s good for your heart health but won’t have any effect on your sleep habits.
When you make it a point to eat late at night, you make it a point to skip the bedtime you actually need. The entire family needs to eat as early as possible so their bodies have time to digest their food, they have time to wind down and they have time to get to bed at a decent hour. Let’s try to have dinner before 7 – I like it before 6 in my house – and then get to bed on time.
Make it Dark
Turn off the lights. You need to produce melatonin to sleep well, and melatonin is only produced in absolute darkness. Turn off the nightlife. There is not creature under your bed that’s going to get you if it’s completely dark.
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