It’s no secret that getting more shut-eye has a positive impact on many aspects of our lives. However, it’s just not that simple to “get more sleep.” Your life may be stressful right now. You may feel busy.
Most of us understand how important getting a quality night’s sleep is. But it may be time for you to take it more seriously. Here are a couple of ways to get you started on getting more, higher quality sleep each night:
1. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
It's okay if you can't always do this but try. Our hormones impact the quality of sleep we get. By regulating the times you go to bed and wake up, you are actually balancing your hormones, which enables you to access better sleep.
2. Avoid sugars and carbohydrates.
Easier said than done, especially if, during an emergency, resources are scarce or you're eating more shelf-stable foods from your In-House Food Supply. Remember that eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates can cause large spikes in your blood sugar levels, which can wake you up in the middle of the night when they drop. These spikes can also cause you to wake up extra hungry in the morning because your blood sugar crashed during the night. Instead, reach for foods with sleep-regulating hormones like melatonin and serotonin, such as almonds, walnuts or tart cherry juice. Sleep-promoting foods typically have healthy fats, like fish and nuts, or foods with tryptophan and magnesium, like turkey and bananas.
3. Drink enough water throughout the day.
A good rule of thumb is try to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day. You can reduce this if your water supply is low. But if you have plenty of water available, drink up! Going to bed dehydrated can make your mouth and nose dry, which could cause snoring and discomfort. It can also lead to muscle cramps, which cause restless sleep. Drinking water throughout the day, as opposed to guzzling a glass right before bed, also may keep you from having to get up for bathroom breaks during the night.
4. Use the comfort items in your Wellness Kit.
Creating a comfortable environment in which to sleep can be as simple as wearing an eye mask, using ear plugs, or playing soothing music. If you are in a safe place where you can close your eyes and rest, try wrapping yourself in a scarf, playing soothing music, use earplugs and an eye mask to soften the impact on your senses while you fall asleep. Packing such items in your Wellness Kit can improve your ability to fall asleep and thus improve your ability to recover.
5. Skip the screen time before (or in) bed.
Disconnecting earlier in the night will help you relax and stress less. Avoid reading the news just before bed unless it's time-sensitive, critical information. Programming and following weather updates on your NOAA weather radio can be a great alternative for receiving important information without relying your phone, laptop or other devices during an emergency situation. For better sleep, especially during an emergency, it's important to give your brain time to rest.
We all know the importance of sleep. Now is the time to practice these tools and tricks to boost your self-care with better sleep. Not only will you start sleeping better today, you'll be more prepared for successful recovery later.