Sleep Like A Baby

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As a father, sleep can be hard to come by. I know none of us want to hear it, but sleep is important! It is recommended that adults get between 7-9 hours of it every night. I know most of us aren’t getting that.

Have you ever been away for a few days with no responsibilities, no work, no kids, and just relaxation? Think about about how great you felt. The reason is probably that you got a few good nights of sleep. That is no accident- the benefits of sleep seem never-ending.

Healthier body weight:

Adequate sleep helps to maintain a healthy body weight. When you sleep, your body produces a hormone called ghrelin. The function of ghrelin is to regulate appetite as well as to regulate glucose and insulin levels. When you don’t sleep, your body will not produce enough ghrelin, which can lead to overeating during the day.

Reduced stress:

Which came first- insomnia or anxiety? The answer is not clear; what IS clear is that adequate sleep can and will reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Lack of sleep will create an imbalance in cortisol levels. Cortisol is famously known as the stress hormone- it also helps to regulate your sleep cycle. A disrupted sleep cycle can lead to altered hormone levels, which will result in you feeling stressed.

Sleep makes you smarter:

Sleep improves brain function. Studies show that a sleep deprived individual is more dangerous behind the wheel than a drunk driver! When you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, you will experience...

  • More energy

  • Better memory

  • More creativity

  • Better focus

  • Improved ability to retain information

It may seem easier said than done to get more sleep. An important step you should take to improve your sleep is to create a consistant bedtime routine for yourself. 

Just like you have a bedtime routine for your kids to get them calm and ready for bed, you should do the same for yourself. That final hour before bed should be the same everyday. It will signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare to rest. Here are a few tips for creating a productive bedtime routine!

1. Avoid screens: Watching TV or staring at your phone up until bedtime can be a huge cause of sleep problems. Screens are very stimulating and the light emitted from the screen can interfere with your body’s internal clock. Avoid screens for that last hour before bedtime. Instead, try reading a book or magazine (on paper- not an iPad!).

2. Drink a cup of tea: Chamomile tea has been proven to reduce anxiety and aid with sleep. There are plenty other types of teas that improve sleep as well- just be sure not to choose tea with caffeine! 

3. Set a bedtime: Consistency is key. Your body’s circadian rhythm is dictated by consistency. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day will help you fall asleep quickly and deeply, and have more energy during the day. 

4. Keep track of time: I know it is easy to lose track of time while catching up on your favorite show. If this is something you struggle with, set an alarm to remind yourself that it’s time to shut off those distracting, stimulating screens and to start getting ready for bed!

5. Make a to-do list: Many people let all the worries of tomorrow weigh on them as they try to shut their mind off. Write a quick to-do list of the tasks that need to get done the following day. This will help free your mind and allow you to sleep. This will not only help you get to sleep, but will also help you be more productive tomorrow. 

Incorporating these tips will help you get to bed earlier, fall asleep faster, and get better quality sleep. Give them a try!