I talk about good quality sleep a lot because I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea and didn’t sleep well for years but now that I am compliant with my sleep therapy, I actually wake up in the mornings feeling refreshed and ready to get going! I never realized how important “sleep” was to every part of my life. It is especially important to my healthy living so I make it a priority.
I do wear my CPAP every night but I’ve also done a few other things to help me sleep that everyone should do. I’ve given my bedroom a sleep makeover. I looked around my room and realized, I need it to support sleep not everything else! So I began to change things….
Here are a few things I’ve done to help me sleep:
- I painted a light color with turquoise highlights. It’s calming and relaxing.
- I cleaned out all the clutter. The clutter makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed….
- I rearranged the room to make it feel more open and airy.
- I bought a new mattress. OK well I actually bought a new mattress topper that was expensive but not as much as a new mattress set. I LOVE it! I sleep so much better.
- I also got some new pillows – fresh and clean. We don’t always do that often enough….
- I updated with a new comforter, cute pillows and sheets washed in softener with a lavender scent that makes sliding in very restful.
- One thing I did that has helped me so much is to hang room darkening curtains. My room was so light I had a hard time not feeling it was the middle of the day! The darkness helps produce melatonin, a hormone that helps produce sleep so the curtains are great! I also found a cute lamp shade to help pull it all together and changed the bulb in the lamp so it’s not bright like a spot light when it’s on.
- I keep my room a little on the cool side but actually research shows a room below 70 is great for a good night’s sleep. It is great on helping with the electric bill in the winter…
Along with the bedroom makeover, there are other things I work on. Here are a few tips that are important:
I work on my sleep routine. Do you have one of those? Things you do every night to help you wind down from the day. You know, brushing teeth, “beauty” routine, getting the dog settled and in bed. It helps wind down to get ready for bed. I think about it like I did with my children when they were young. Activities slow down, warm bath, soft pj’s, brush teeth, read a book, say prayers, lights out and drift into sweet sleep.
Going to bed and getting up around the same time. This is sometimes easier said than done especially when traveling or in different time zones but I seem to always wake at the same time no matter where I am! Our body operates on “circadian rhythms”, which are related to patterns of waking and sleeping. When these rhythms are disrupted, so is your sleep. In other words, when you sleep in one morning because you didn’t sleep well the night before, your cycle will change: You’ll get tired later every day and want to wake up later, too. You see how this could lead to getting really messing up your sleep patterns?
Then there is the issue with electronics. When traveling with a sleep expert one night she asked me if I sleep with my phone? Do I ever turn it off? I was guilty. You know someone might “need” me – years of being a Mom. So now, I do still have it charging by my bed and use it as an alarm but the volume is down and alerts are set to not come in during my sleeping hours. I use it as my alarm and it still comes on and wakes me up.
I have had to “ban” my computer and iPad from my bedroom. Those nights of relaxing in bed and checking FaceBook or Pinterest, I was so wound up at 2 and 3am. I had been sleepy and very tired but couldn’t stop! Actually lit screens even the television stimulates the brain so turning them off earlier will help you relax.
Television. Well, I used to sleep with it on all night. I said it helped with noise especially when Ashley lived at home. When we arrived on The Biggest Loser Ranch, there were no televisions so that instantly stopped! Now if it’s on, the sleep timer is set and it goes off in about 10 minutes. But I really just enjoy the quiet without it.
One night, I was so tired but wanted to watch just a few more minutes of something. About 2am, I was awakened by my new dog moving around in his crate. He was just over a year old and I’d only had him about a month but he’d never made any noise during the night like this. I got up and took him outside. He didn’t need to go out so back upstairs and I crawled into bed. As I thought about it a minute, I got it. I had fallen asleep with the television on and my CPAP mask in my hand not on my face! I would have been struggling to breathe without it and my boy, Miles, woke me up! He knew something was wrong! I love that boy!!!!! Learned my lesson – turn it off and put on your mask before falling asleep! (And give Miles extra love!)
Don’t eat big at night. Well, for many reasons, eating a large and/or heavy meal close to bedtime is not good but it can cause you trouble sleeping.
Making a list. If I have lots going on and can’t seem to turn it off in my mind, I write it down. I leave it where I can see it when I get up so I know I won’t forget anything. I can forget it (for now) and sleep.
Relaxing. I love to have a cup of hot tea to unwind… sometimes stretching helps, deep breathing, or a relaxing warm bath.
These are some of the changes I’ve made to ensure I get good quality sleep because I’m realizing more and more what a vital role it plays in my overall good health! Making these changes helps me sleep better which improves my health.
YOU CAN improve yours as well!