Did you get your requisite 8-9 hours sleep last night? I didn’t. I almost never do and I am 100% aware it’s a problem. Right this minute, I’m exhausted and I just want a nap; but for the life of me, I can’t seem to get an actual sleep “routine” going. Don’t be me though – a proper sleep routine is something everyone really needs to be their best self. Eight to nine hours…this is the recommended level of shut-eye we need, according to sleep experts, but how do we get there?
I don’t think it’s all that shocking that many of us don’t get the right amount of sleep a night. It’s often because of sleep-inhibiting habits, such as drinking caffeine (guilty) or alcohol right before bedtime or sitting in bed looking at our phones or laptop screens (also guilty), all of which can limit our capacity to sleep soundly. Those Netflix binges into the early hours don’t help either, as while we think ‘just one more episode’ won’t hurt, it actually does when we have to be up early the next morning. I keep saying my 4:30 a.m. alarm keeps rolling around earlier and earlier; or at least it feels that way.
If you’re guilty of any of the above, you have probably felt the effects of a lack of sleep already. If so, you need to get back into a proper bedtime routine, and that includes cutting out any bad habits that could inhibit your sleep, and being sure to go to bed at a reasonable time. There are reasons why you should, as I have outlined below.
#1: You will look better in front of the mirror
It’s true. I can definitely tell the difference between days I feel exhausted like today, versus days that I feel like I slept well. Studies suggest sleep deprivation can affect your facial features, causing fine lines and wrinkles on the skin around your eyes and mouth. This will be of no surprise to you if you have ever looked in the mirror in the morning and discovered you have seemingly aged ten years overnight. There is an excellent article here on how to get rid of eye lines, creases & wrinkles, so don’t despair if you don’t look as young as you did last week…you can fix that. One of your best lines of defense against aging quickly is to get plenty of sleep, so to ensure you are ‘the fairest one of them all’ when you next look in the mirror, get to sleep at a decent time.
#2: You will feel less stressed and anxious
Also true. For me, I have a hard time focusing when I’m tired, which means I’m less productive. Decreased productivity equals increased stress. According to sleep experts, there is a direct correlation between your mood and sleep. If you sleep well, you are more likely to start the day in a good mood. If you sleep badly, you are more likely to start the day in a bad mood, being grouchy, irritable, and prone to feelings of stress and anxiety because of your tired state. Again, this will be of no surprise to you, so if you have ever felt like this in the morning, know that it’s because of a lack of sleep and not because you got up on the wrong side of your bed! And because of the way you feel, you might be prone to dealing with stress the wrong way instead of finding better ways to manage it. You might comfort eat or smoke, for example, to alleviate the way you feel. You don’t need me to remind you of the consequences of those bad habits, but for real, we can all benefit in a multitude of ways by just making sure we sleep well.
#3: You won’t be putting your long-term health at risk
If you follow me on Facebook, you know I landed myself in the hospital not too long ago. All because I was exhausted and trying to run on about 4 hours of sleep per day for months. It didn’t work out in my favor and my body just said no more…I am done working until you rest. Regular sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and the increased chances of a stroke or a heart attack. You might also be more prone to injuring yourself, as your tiredness can lead to a lack of concentration. A lack of sleep, therefore, could have dire consequences for you. So, if any further incentive is needed for you to go to bed at a decent time, let it be this one. Your life might depend upon it!
What’s your best tip for getting a solid 8 hours a night? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!