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November 27, 2021

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Sleep….as important to your health as diet and exercise?

You actually promise yourself that tonight will be different

By Christine Schroeder, MOT, OTR/L
It’s been a long day. You are more than ready to go to bed……and it’s only 3:00 pm!

You actually promise yourself that tonight will be different. You are going to get to bed early and get some sleep! Soooo, you get home from work and start tackling that ‘to-do’ list with a vengeance.  

Make dinner, run kids to/from practice, throw in a load of laundry, help your kids with homework, fold some laundry, do the dishes, exercise (hint, hint…even if it’s just a little;), shower and put the kids to bed.

OK, now you are ready to get to bed and it’s an hour earlier than you expected. YES! But then the phone rings and 20 minutes later…you climb into bed. Still a little earlier than normal….although not what you hoped for, BUT you’ll take it!

You lie in bed and realize its Tuesday. Your favorite TV show is on. Do you turn it on or go to sleep? You lie there for a few minutes debating while your mind starts to race with all the things you need to do tomorrow so you decide to turn it on because… “It’ll help me calm down so I can sleep better.”

While watching the show, you see a commercial for something that looks interesting…you pick up your phone and start searching. An hour later, your show is over and you look at the clock, rolling your eyes as you realize ‘getting to bed early tonight’ has just turned into another typical night. You turn off the TV and the lights, plug in your phone and lie in the dark telling yourself “go to sleep!” 

Pretty soon, you turn and look at the clock again and see its 1:00 AM! You now have roughly 5 short hours to squeeze in some restful sleep….A far cry from the 7-8 hours that you planned to get tonight.  ARGHHHHH!

Any of this sound familiar? Sleep is something that most of us do NOT get enough of but yet is a vital, and often overlooked, factor in our overall health and wellness.  Not only does sleep give us the time to recharge our batteries so we can tackle all those challenges we face every day, but it is also a necessary component for tackling many chronic health conditions.

Here are few simple tips to help you get a little more sleep at night:

1 - Set boundaries/priorities:
Face it, our “to-do” list is always longer than we want it to be and as soon as we cross something off, something else will take its place. Make a promise to yourself that your sleep is more important than crossing one more thing off that list. Pick a time to get to bed and hold yourself to it!

(It is often said that creative, successful people not only get enough sleep every night but they also set boundaries for themselves.)

2 - Exercise earlier in the evening.
You know that good, uplifting, energizing feeling you get after exercising? It’s amazing! …..As long as it is not 10:00 at night and you need to get to sleep! LOL Allow yourself enough time to come down from that exercise “high” before hitting the pillow every night.

3 - Limit screen time before bed.
Shut off all devices and if possible, keep them out of the bedroom. Electronic devices, such as TVs, phones, etc., “awaken” our brains and its hard to just “flip that switch” off when you close your eyes.

4 - Make your bedroom a place you’ll want to sleep in.
It’s hard to fall asleep in an uncomfortable bed, with light filtering in through the windows and while lying on a lumpy pillow. Invest in yourself and your health by maybe adding some darkening shades or buying a new pillow.

 “A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” – Unknown

Click below to read more about how important sleep is to your overall health:

• Basics about sleep - Center for Disease Control and Prevention

• Five things you can do about a bad night's sleep - Everyday Health

• Sufficient sleep - essential for a healthy lifestyle

As always, feel free to give us a call anytime to set up your free 15 minute consultation to learn more about how to become the healthier you!

CLICK HERE for Christine's previous columns

Healthe Habits for Living
Ellerbrock Spine and Soft Tissue
120 N Main St. Suite A
Bluffton, OH 45817
Phone: 419-358-2222