Sleep is Important?!
Yes, Yes it is!
By Kathi Wright | Kyle W. Kiihnl Foundation
Celebrate Your Sleep Health is the theme of Sleep Awareness Week 2021. We all love to celebrate and, truthfully, we haven’t had much to celebrate these last 12 months, but it sounds like we’re about to celebrate something! What does ‘celebrate our sleep health’ mean? A birthday cake in bed? Balloons? An announcement to friends and family? Uhh, probably not.
Our sleep health consists of three components; the time it takes to fall asleep, the ability to stay asleep, and any waking time. It does not matter how many hours you are asleep if you’re not meeting the criteria in all 3 areas. Good quality sleep comes if you can meet these criteria. Let’s look at these components in a little more detail.
The time it takes to fall asleep.
The time it takes to fall asleep should be less than 30 minutes. This is just a goal but we all know the faster you fall asleep the better. If we have trouble falling asleep, we may be tempted to turn to a device or TV and that won’t help your sleep at all. One thing that may help in falling asleep is having a bedtime routine. A bedtime routine is a signal to your body that the day has come to an end, there is nothing left to do but sleep. A bedtime routine can consist of brushing your teeth, showering, reading, anything you find relaxing. Your sleep space should be dark, quiet, and cool, of course! If you are sensitive to caffeine, it would be best to not consume any after 12:00 pm. And if you should decide sleep is elusive for you please do not pick up your phone. Not only does the blue light from the device keep you awake, but you will also most likely end up down that rabbit hole for hours. Hours that you could have, should have, been sleeping.
The ability to stay asleep.
The ability to stay asleep means you are sleeping 85% of the time you’re in bed. That means you are not waking more than 4 times during the night. Yes, nature calls and you will need to get up and take care of that. That does not mean once you’re awake it would be a good idea to check your phone. Nope.
One way to be sure and stay asleep is to get enough physical activity during the day. It can be as simple as taking a walk or walking the dog, just aim for 10,000 steps a day. A little exertion will tire you and release a lot of stress. Stress is not helpful when you are trying to sleep.
Stress can keep you from falling asleep or keep you from staying asleep. Try and clear your mind and think about the sound of the ocean or nature sounds. Both are relaxing and have the ability to put you right back to sleep. Ahhhh, much better!
Ideally, your wake time is less than 25 minutes. That means if you do wake during the night, as many of us do, you will be back slumbering in less than 25 minutes. The only way to accomplish this is to not look at any of your devices. If you pick up a device just to ‘check real quick’ the next thing you know a few hours may have passed and it might be time to wake up! That would stink. Resist that temptation. Your day will be much better with 8-10 hours of sleep and that happens when you go to sleep and can stay asleep.
You may have noticed in each of the three components a warning was issued to not check your phone. Phones must be left untouched during your sleeping hours. Sleep health cannot be celebrated when it is constantly being interrupted.
That just makes good sense.
It is our greatest wish that your sleep health is something to be celebrated. We celebrate with you! For those of you with less than stellar sleep health, please put forth the effort to invest in your sleep and make healthier choices concerning your sleep.
Better Sleep=Better Life
For more information about the importance of sleep and the dangers of driving sleep impaired, visit the Kyle W. Kiihnl Foundation website!