Why is it hard for me to get a good night’s sleep? It should not come as a shock as to why sleep eludes me; I am a busy entrepreneur with my mind going round the clock. However, the problem for me isn’t falling asleep but waking up during the night. In an effort to get a sound night of shut-eye, I started doing some research and this is what I found out.
Sleep becomes even more important as you age, and you still need 7 to 8 hours. A healthy night’s sleep has been linked to better cognitive functioning, lower rates of inflammation in your body, improved immunity and even the ability to help in weight loss. No surprise here, but quality sleep lies in your sleep habits. If you have sleep apnea or some other medical condition, getting a good night’s sleep might not be in your control. But for the majority of us, there are habits you can adopt to encourage a better night’s sleep. 1. Avoid heavy food or alcohol at least two hours before bed because they can interfere with sleep. Alcohol can help you fall asleep but don’t be surprised if you wake up a couple of hours later. If caffeine bothers you, don’t drink any caffeinated beverages after 6 pm.
2. Boost your circadian rhythm. Getting plenty of sunlight during the day can help regulate your biological clock so at night your body can downshift into a more relaxed mode in preparation for bedtime. Getting up and going
to bed at approximately the same time daily reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep.
3. Get rid of the day’s worries. If you tend to worry, which all entrepreneurs do, jot down your concerns and possible solutions and put them aside until tomorrow. Thinking about them once you lay your head on the pillow is not going to get them resolved any faster. Also, before bedtime, start practicing a relaxing ritual such as reading, listening to a podcast or writing in your gratitude journal.
4. Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Don’t eat, watch TV or browse the internet, answer emails on your tablet, laptop or phone. Don’t talk on the phone while you are in bed. In fact, the blue light from keeping your electronics close to the bed can affect your ability get a good night’s sleep. Keep those devices away from your bed, and better yet, out of your bedroom all together. 5. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Use room darkening shades, earplugs, sleep app or a fan to shut out outside light and noises. The cooler the room the better you sleep. Choose comfortable, clean bedding and make sure you have plenty of room to stretch out.
Lisa B. Burbage is president and founder of Wellness Five, LLC, a health and wellness coaching company in Charleston, S.C. She helps clients establish lifestyle habits that allow them to live happier and healthier lives. Wellness Five works primarily with government agencies and private companies and is an approved vendor for the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Diabetes Prevention program. Her clients include the Medical University of South Carolina, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, and the Post and Courier and Aiken Standard newspapers.