If you haven’t realized it yet, life can be fairly challenging at times. Kids today are being expected to keep up with curricula that is super rigorous on top of all of the activities they are involved in after school. It is no longer abnormal for adults to have multiple jobs on top of their responsibilities as parents. Financial pressure along with the stress that comes with managing relationships can really take a toll on people. It really drains our energy and can have significant impacts on our mental health as a result. In order to manage our responsibilities as well as the daily stressors we run into, it is crucial that we maximize our energy level! In my opinion, there are four main ways to accomplish this. Over the next few posts, I will focus on each of these four tenets. In this post, I will be talking about the most important of the four – Sleep.
The importance of sleep
In order to maximize our energy level each day, it is crucial that we get an adequate amount of sleep per night. Not only does it increase our ability to function but it also enhances our mood, tolerance for stress, and overall physical, mental, and emotional health. Research has also indicated that people tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks when they get enough sleep.
How much sleep should you be getting?
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
Younger adults (18-24): 7-9 hours
Adults (25-64): 8-10 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
The value of routine
It may be difficult to quiet your mind after a long day. Although, your body may be ready to pass out after a long and busy day, it may be challenging to prepare your mind for sleep. I suggest developing a routine each night, similar as you may do for a young child. For example, if you plan to fall asleep by 10:00, at around 9:00, begin a calming activity (ie: reading, cross-word puzzle, meditation, coloring, etc.) to slow your heart rate down and quiet your brain. Make sure to write down any tasks or responsibilities that you may need to accomplish the next day as these thoughts may hinder your chances of falling asleep. Disconnect from all electronic devices as this can negatively impact your sleep cycles and distract you from both falling and staying asleep. At 9:45, you should be in bed with the lights out. Focus on your breathing to help clear your mind. A white noise machine or fan may also help you fall asleep faster.
It is also important to set your alarm for the next morning (ie: 6:00). After 4-6 days, if you go to sleep and wake up at the same time, your body will create its own time clock. This means, your body should be ready for sleep at 10:00 every night and it should be ready to wake up at 6:00 every morning. As long as you are consistent and persistent with your routine, you should be able to get the sleep you need each night.
Stay tuned next time for the 2nd tenet to maximize our energy level in order to help with life management – nutritious food!