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  • Writer's pictureJanine Ruddy

The Foundation: Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest can make or break your day. As mentioned in the previous blog post it is the foundation on which the rest of your mental health “house” is built. Poor sleep has been linked to mood issues, memory problems, compromised immune function, chronic pain, and other not-so-great things. So let's take a look at how to improve your rest.

Here are 5 tips to get more and better sleep:

Choose sleep and wake time windows and stick to them(even on the weekends). If you stay up until 2 a.m.on a Saturday night and sleep in until noon on Sunday, it may be difficult to then adjust your schedule each week so that you can get up on Monday morning at 6a.m. To avoid this problem, I’ve given myself sleep and wake “windows” of about an hour and a half. I go to bed between 9:30 p.m.and 11 p.m.(at the latest) every night, and I wake up between 5:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.every morning.This way, my schedule is relatively consistent, and I can fall asleep easily.

Make a night-time routine that helps you to wind down. Life is busy, and we are always on the go. So it’s important that you're able to let your body and mind know that it’s time to chill. If your bedtime is scheduled for 10:30 p.m., start thinking about relaxing activities that you can engage in about an hour before then. Have a warm bath or shower, write in your journal, or read.

Make a morning routine that invigorates you. Most successful people get up about two hours before they have to go anywhere. They read, meditate, or exercise in the morning to get their day going. Having a great morning routine can give you the motivation to get out of bed, especially if you are not a morning person (hello espresso!). It also helps to prime your body and mind so you can take on the day. Remember, my morning routine will probably look different than yours, but that’s okay. Create something that you enjoy. Do you like to read? Do yoga? Meditate? Listen to music?

Turn off social media. I suggest staying away from your phone during your morning and night routines. Since we are all tethered to our phones nowadays, it feels good to be able to disconnect and take some time for ourselves. Besides, is anything on social media really so urgent that you need to check it first thing in the morning AND last thing at night? No! So give your eyes and your mind a break every now and then!

Make your bedroom a place to sleep and be comfortable. If your sheets are scratchy, if your room is hot, or if you have a television positioned at the foot of your bed, you might find it unnecessarily difficult to fallasleep. Make your room a place where you feel relaxed and comfortable. Maybe it’s time to change up your sheets,maybe it's time to crack a window, or maybe it's time to get rid off the TV. Instead of thinking about your room merely as the place you sleep, try thinking of it as the temple in which you regenerate!

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