Wellness Wednesday – “Getting A Good Night’s Sleep”
In this Wellness Wednesday, we will wrap up our exploration of the PERMA-V model for improving your overall well-being by looking at the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep, and we especially know the impact on our wellness when we don’t sleep well. When we don’t get enough sleep, we feel fatigued, find it hard to concentrate, and our emotions are much closer to the surface. However, after a good night’s sleep, we feel energized, we experience higher cognitive functioning, and we react less emotionally.
According to the CDC, insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. 25% of U.S. adults report inadequate sleep or rest at least 15 days a month. Getting a good night’s sleep is critical for better health and well-being. What is the impact of a lack of sleep on our wellness? Here are a few effects:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Increased weight gain.
- Increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Increased depression.
- Decreased ability to fight off infections.
Besides these adverse health effects, a lack of sleep can also impact how we live out our callings in life:
- Decreased productivity.
- Increased traffic accidents.
- Greater work errors.
- Negative impact on interpersonal and family relationships.
While we will address some severe medical conditions and sleep disorders in future Wellness Wednesdays, I’d like to suggest a few simple ideas that might improve the quality of your sleep so that you can experience greater health and well-being in your daily life. Perhaps you might want to try the “10-3-2-1-0 Sleep Rule” for your bedtime routine:
- 10: The number of hours before bed when you should stop drinking caffeine – Caffeine enters your bloodstream 30-60 minutes after you drink it, with a half-life of 3-5 hours.
- 3: The number of hours before bed you should limit food and alcohol – Eating before bed can cause digestive issues that interrupt your sleep patterns, and avoiding alcohol before bed will help you get a fuller REM sleep.
- 2: The number of hours before bed you should stop working – Working before bed heightens your anxiety and overstimulates your brain.
- 1: The number of hours before bed you should avoid screen time – On average, U.S. citizens spend 50 minutes on their phones before bed, and most keep an electronic device in their bedroom. Both the blue light from electronic devices and the stimulation your brain receives can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
- 0: The number of times you should hit the snooze button in the morning – Pressing the snooze button disrupts REM sleep and can trigger a fight-or-flight response.
Here are a few more things you might want to consider to improve your sleep:
- Ritualize your sleep time by establishing a consistent bedtime and wake-up time.
- Shoot for 8 hours of sleep for maximum health and well-being benefits.
- Get a good pillow that supports your neck.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool enough.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark enough.
- Try a weighted blanket.
- Try “Scandinavian sleeping,” in which each person sleeps with their own duvet with no top sheet to fight over, allowing each partner to have their preferred sleep space in the same bed.
Finally, it is essential to remember there is a spiritual aspect of our lives that can significantly impact the quality of our sleep. In Psalm 4:8, we hear, “In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Consider spending some time before going to sleep focusing on God’s promises and love for you in Christ and lift up those things that are anxious on your heart to Him. By doing so, you can experience greater peace and rest, knowing you are secure in the arms of your loving Savior.
Are you looking for a good bedtime prayer before you go to sleep? Try Luther’s Evening Prayer – “I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have graciously kept me this day, and I pray you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.”