On Valentine’s Day, my husband and I couldn’t get a babysitter so we ended up spending it with our kids and headed to Orlando, Florida for some tourist trap fun. My husband planned on putting the kids to bed early that night to cook a romantic meal (having a chef-husband sure has its perks!) just for the two of us. However, as we lost track of time, I realized that it was already dark in the middle of an amusement park, and I had to leave at 6 a.m. to be at work. This realization nearly ruined our Valentine’s Day. Want to know why?
Because I am an absolute sleep freak. Yes, if I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep each night, Sleeping Beauty turns into the Wicked Witch of the West (no joke). My husband convinced me through guilt that one night of sleep deprivation was worth spending the night with Prince Charming. He was right, it was worth it (you can see the delicious recipe he made me here), but the next day, I literally couldn’t focus on what I was doing and the commute to work was comparable to Allegiant Air’s emergency landings.
Why do I mention this?
Because sleep is important. It’s something kids try to avoid and adults can’t seem to get enough of. It’s also one of the MOST important things you can do for your health (aside from having a happy spouse). Lack of quality sleep has been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, mental problems, and more.
“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.” —Thomas Dekker
So, how can you get the best of your Zzzz’s?
- Kill your TV. Rid your bedroom of TV and turn to the radio for calm, relaxing music. Having a TV in your bedroom is bad news. It keeps you up later, it over stimulates you, and it takes time away from better things like reading, talking to your partner, and sex (which I think we all know leads to much better sleep).
- Keep bedtime consistent. Try to stick to the same time each night. You’ll feel much more refreshed if your body can count on the same sleep-wake cycle.
- Set a sleep alarm. Like a wake-alarm but in reverse. Trust me, this works! I set mine a half-hour before I want to be in bed so I can finish what I am doing and then get ready for bed. Make sure you have enough time for 7-8 hours of shuteye.
- Clear your head. If you have tasks stuck in your head of what you need to do the next day, write them down on paper and put them on your nightstand so you don’t have to remind yourself as you’re trying to fall asleep. The only job in your mind should be to sleep. The rest can wait until tomorrow.
- Fix your sleep problems. Averaging ten cups of coffee during the day and wondering why you can’t fall asleep at night? Quit it. Also, you might think that drinking a bunch of booze helps you sleep, but in reality, your brain doesn’t go into the deep sleep modes it needs to in order to restore you.
- Power nap. Taking a 10-30 minute power nap during the day can boost your energy and performance. Don’t go past 30 minutes though, or you’ll be left feeling groggy.