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In This Issue: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Though there are very real medical conditions, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, that deprive people of sleep, the reason most of us probably don’t get enough sleep is simply because we put off our bedtime. Instead of getting into bed, we opt to check off another item on our to-do list or watch another episode of our favorite show. This is sometimes called “bedtime procrastination.” We all know a good night’s sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, so how can we stop putting it off?
A good place to start is by keeping track of your day. The human mind isn’t meant to internalize checklists and task reminders, so use your phone or journal as a scheduling assistant. However you decide to keep track, make sure to give yourself a set amount of time to accomplish your tasks, like letting yourself watch TV for just one hour or blocking out three hours to help your kids with their homework. It might even help to set alarms on your watch or on your phone to let you know when your time is up on any of your activities.
Another big part is creating an environment that is conducive to a good night’s sleep, and that starts with turning your electronic devices off well before you get under the covers. Smartphone screens, computer screens, and even some energy-efficient lightbulbs emit blue light, which reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time to go to bed. Instead of looking at your phone, try reading a book before going to sleep. If your screens prove to be too big of a draw for you when bedtime comes, it might be a good idea to move your devices to another room so they’re out of sight and out of mind.
Finally, don’t get discouraged if you don’t start getting better sleep right away. Setting up good bedtime routines takes time. But if you stick with it — and maybe have someone else in your house hold you accountable to your commitments — you’ll start to get better sleep and have more energy to take on the day in no time.
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