Modern life is busy and highly scheduled. For many of us, this means we don’t get the sleep and rest we need to feel our best.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
In this article, we will share 3 steps that will help you get the rest and sleep your body, mind, and soul needs. We will also reveal the science-backed reasons why this practice will lead to a healthier, happier, less stressed life.
Science-Backed Benefits to Getting Good Rest
Getting adequate sleep on a consistent basis and allowing yourself to rest or nap when you are tired is a secret ingredient to living a healthy, happy, less stressful life. Here are just a few of the science-backed benefits of sleep and rest.
- Afternoon naps give a boost to your mood, job performance, and memory while simultaneously reducing stress.
- Adequate sleep at night reduces risks of serious diseases, helps you get sick less often, improves mood, reduces stress, and increases clear thinking and school or work performance.
We know that our lives will benefit in myriad ways by getting good sleep and rest. Let’s look at 3 steps we can take to make this a priority in our daily lives.
3 Steps to Prioritize Sleep and Rest
1. Grant Yourself Permission
The first step to prioritizing rest is often the most difficult to put into regular practice. You must grant yourself guilt-free permission to rest. And that is harder to do than you may imagine.
Many of us place a high priority on productivity. Unless we are on vacation, we tend to judge ourselves on how busy we were or how much we “got done” on any particular day.
If we take time to rest, it can bring feelings of guilt or even shame to the surface. Taking a nap when we “should” be completing that work project or declining the social invitation in favor of going to bed early can make us feel like we are doing something wrong.
It’s not wrong to rest. And in fact, it allows you to be more productive with increased efficiency and focus when required. Grant yourself permission to rest when you need it.
2. Set a Sleep, Rest, and Recovery Schedule
The next step to prioritizing rest is to establish a sleep schedule and a few key boundaries that will allow time for rest and recovery when you need it.
Abundant research has shown that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night to achieve optimal health, performance, cognitive function, and mood stability. More recently, however, research has proven that having a consistent bedtime is equally important for adults.
Determine your ideal waking time and set a firm bedtime that gives you 7-9 hours of sleep. Stick to this bedtime and waking time every day for optimal results. It may be helpful to set a bedtime alarm that allows time for your bedtime routine and some wind-down time, too.
A consistent bedtime is only part of the equation. As you plan events, appointments, meetings, work times, movement times, and all the other things you do in a day, leave open space on your calendar. Get intentional about building in time to take a break, lay down and nap, or to sit still and let your mind wander.
3. Create an Environment that Supports Sleep and Rest
The last step to prioritizing sleep and rest to live your best life is to create an environment that is conducive to sleep and rest.
Invest in quality bedding including sheets, pillows, and a mattress that work well for your body and the way in which you sleep. If your pillow makes your neck ache and your sheets make you sweat more at night, find other options that will help you get better sleep.
Find the temperature you like best, roll down black out shades, wear a sleep mask, use a white noise machine, and use these tools every night and every nap to get the highest quality sleep you can.
Avoid screens of any kind in your sleeping space. It is well understood that electronic devices negatively impact our ability to get the best quality sleep. Put them away or turn them off as part of your bedtime routine.
Sleep and rest are an integral component to living a healthy, happy, low-stress life. Putting these 3 steps into practice will help you prioritize sleep and rest and realize all the benefits of doing so, to your body, mind, and soul.
Dena and the Love Pilates Team