Step 10 is all about catching sufficient "Z's".
I would go as far to say that sleep - or lack of sleep - has the greatest impact on a person's overall lifestyle more than anything else.
Sufficient sleep is not only recommended, but also required to promote proper recovery of the mind and body, helps maintain a healthy body weight, helps to curb food cravings, not to mention increasing daily energy levels.
For most people, 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night is recommended to elicit all of the benefits listed above. There are exceptions to this rule, as some people may require slightly more or slightly less sleep, but if you start aiming for 7 to 8 hours, you can then judge how you feel and go from there.
Now, you may read or hear about how important sleep is from many different sources, but few ever help you achieve a better sleep. So, I have included a list of tips to hopefully help you improve your quality of sleep.
1. Stay Consistent - If you go to bed at 10pm on weeknights, yet stay up partying until 2 or 3 in the morning on weekends, you are sending mixed signals to your body's rhythms that can disrupt your sleep patterns. Try and go to bed at the same time every night.
2. Avoid Alcohol - Alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep patterns. Oftentimes people think that they need a drink to fall asleep, and it may in fact help you fall asleep, but too many drinks can prevent your body from falling into a deep sleep, when the restorative effects take place.
3. Follow A Pattern - Some people enjoy reading before bed, others enjoy watching tv. Whatever you do to help you fall asleep, try to get yourself into a pattern at least an hour before bed. Usually, this should involve a mentally-relaxing activity, with low lighting prior to snooze time. This sends signals to your brain that it is time to hit the sack.
4. Avoid Caffeine Before Bed - Some folks are able to have a post-dinner coffee and sleep just fine. I never want to run that risk. Caffeine can stay in the blood stream for up to 6 hours, so I try not to have any coffee after 2pm in the afternoon. That gives my body plenty of time to be unwind and prepare for bed no later than 8pm. I am usually fast asleep by 10pm.
5. Workout Earlier - One of the main reasons why I workout in the morning, is because by bed time, I am nice and sleepy. There are days when I play men's league hockey at night, and I always have troubles sleeping after I get home. By exercising too close to bed time, you are firing up the body which may make it hard to fall asleep.
6. Stay Cool - A drop in body temperature is another signal sent to your brain that you are ready to sleep. We have all had those hot summer nights when we struggle to sleep. I enjoy being cool when I sleep, so that is why I almost always sleep in just shorts - even in the middle of winter. The rest of you may like wearing PJs, which is fine, but try setting your house temperature a bit cooler and see if you notice a difference.
Hopefully these tips can help you get on track, and enjoy the full benefits of deep, restorative sleep!
Quote of the day:
"If you care at all, you'll get some results. If you care enough, you'll get incredible results."~ Jim Rohn