Get enough quality sleep for a healthy life
What do Benjamin Franklin and Bill Gates have in common? Besides being brilliant thought leaders, both men share similar sleeping habits. Ben Franklin used to sleep seven hours a day, and seven hours is also the magic number for Bill Gates.
Research shows getting at least seven hours of quality sleep is vital for optimal health. Deep sleep is scientifically proven to boost your immune system, improve cardiac health, and lower stress and anxiety.
Along with getting the proper amount of rest, there are several habits that contribute to a good night’s sleep:
Maintain a consistent bedtime routine
Unplug and let your mind wind down before bed. Turn off all your devices and dim the lights.
Keep a dark bedroom. Light is the biggest trigger to our brains that it’s time to be awake and alert, so sending the opposite signal to your brain will help your body prepare for rest.
Maintain a cool temperature in your bedroom. While everyone has individual temperature preferences, researchers recommend between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Incorporating physical activity in your schedule is important. Studies show exercise improves the sleep of people with chronic insomnia.
“Insomnia is commonly linked with elevated arousal, anxiety, and depression, and exercise has strong effects on reducing these symptoms in the general population,” according to the National Sleep Foundation.
However, be careful not to work out too close to bedtime – within 3 to 4 hours. Immediately after exercising you are energized and stimulated, and your body temperature is elevated, all of which will affect your ability to fall asleep.
Go to bed early and wake up early
Are you a morning person? If not, you may want to start. It turns out there is some truth to the infamous line, “Early to bed, and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And as I mentioned before, Ben Franklin was a man who clearly practiced what he preached.
Imagine this scenario: You wake up at 6:30 a.m., but you have to be out the door at 7a.m. You take a quick shower, brush your teeth, and spend the last 10 minutes looking for your keys. You race out the door but realize you forgot to feed your cat, so you run back in a panic. For many of us, our morning routines look like a Saturday Night Live skit.
Now let’s imagine you wake up at 5:30 a.m., which gives you an hour and a half to get ready, eat breakfast, read a few emails and mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. In this scenario, you are starting the day in a much calmer, peaceful state, which sets the tone for the rest of your day.
One of the main reasons many of us struggle to fall asleep is stress. While our bodies want to rest, our brains are still operating at hyper speed.
When it comes to quieting the mind, meditation works wonders. Meditating puts you in the present and will help you feel at peace within minutes.
I recommend the “5 To Thrive Meditations: Relaxation” for falling asleep fast.