The staff at Boston Center Oral Health stumbled upon this useful and informative piece to help set some sleep goals for 2018. The following are six useful tips to alleviate the stress one might experience when he/she is unable to adhere to the “sleep rules” we have come to accept as required for good health.
1. Sleep binging
We know that getting a full night’s sleep every night is the ultimate goal but, for most people, this is an unrealistic expectation. So, Dr. Petra says, when you get the opportunity for a good, long sleep – take it.
“Recharging your batteries with an extra-long slumber at the weekend or during a holiday is something we should embrace and enjoy. Regular sleep binges will help your body to do all the repairing it needs to do – so don’t feel guilty about having an early night, or an extra lie in.”
2. Ditch the trackers
From calories to steps, modern society has taught us that counting everything will lead to a happier, healthier life. However, putting a number on how many hours of sleep we should be getting can exacerbate anxiety about not being able to get enough.
“With more of us counting sleep rather than sheep, 2018 should be the time when we reflect as individuals on what we need, and what we can realistically achieve. If you are someone who struggles to nod off, or you find yourself waking up during the night, don’t be tempted to check the time. This immediately causes your brain to calculate how many hours of sleep you’ve clocked and stimulates it with light, making it less likely that you’ll fall asleep again quickly.”
3. Made-to-measure sleep
The comparison is the thief of joy, or so the saying goes, and this is especially true when it comes to sleep.
“I hear people say all the time that they ‘don’t sleep well’, however, when you dig a bit deeper, most of the time they are comparing themselves with those (literally) closest to them – usually their partners or the people they live with.”
Instead of judging yourself on the habits of others, ask yourself how you feel about your sleep. The amount of sleep someone requires really varies, and we need to think about our individual needs when it comes to getting a good night’s rest.
4. Losing the race to bed
In the evening we naturally start to relax and feel sleepy, whether it’s in front of the TV or elsewhere. We then realize it’s time for bed and rush to prepare. This adrenaline stimulates our bodies and makes it harder to drop off.
“This year we want to encourage people to lose the race to bed. I encourage people to lose this race to bed and instead do all the necessary bed- preparation before they sit down to relax. Get your PJs on and teeth brushed before chilling out. Avoid screens, dim the lights and let yourself relax. Once you feel sleepy, just take yourself straight to bed.”
5. Holistic help
If you regularly struggle with sleep, or even if you just want to find out how to improve your personal sleep pattern, a health assessment is a great way to get feedback on your entire lifestyle.
“During a health assessment – which we provide at Bupa Health Clinics – we show our customers that there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ night’s sleep, and help to build a picture of what would work for you as an individual. This gets people to become more aware of their personal needs and follow their own rules about sleep. Rest assured, learning how to get a good night’s sleep will help with every area of your life as you’ll have more energy.”
6. Energy-boosting naps
It may be hard to work around work but a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness, and performance, especially in the early afternoon when blood sugar levels are low.
“Just remember that naps shouldn’t replace long periods of sleep, as this is when the real work begins and our bodies really get the chance to rejuvenate and repair. And like everything to do with rest, it’s entirely personal – naps may be great for some while others will find it difficult to include in their day-to-day routine – and that’s absolutely fine!”
Here’s to better sleep in 2018!