To recharge, find rest, regenerate and repair cells/muscles/organ systems/immune system, regulate hormone levels, consolidate memories, restore brain and neuronal energy/connectivity/plasticity, energy conservation... There are a myriad of reasons why sleep is important and a myriad of ways that people attempt to bypass the science which implores us to make sure that we are all getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Busy lives and the stressors that come with them get in the way. Binging our favorite TV shows and movies get in the way. Attempting to "buy" hours after the kids are put to bed gets in the way. We oftentimes attempt to justify actions which are stealing from those necessary hours of deep, regenerative sleep. Let us touch upon six ways that we can shift this thought process and move into a healthier relationship with sleep... oh, so beautiful, sleep.
1) Stress Management:
The stimulus of stress, and the cortisol hormone which it releases into the body, place us into a state of hyper arousal which can make us edgy and place our brains in overdrive. The problems of the workplace, home and world in general enter into a swirl of needed solutions which the brain does its best to remedy. When released at optimal times, cortisol can help drive tasks to get completed and energy to be released in greater force. When released near bedtime, cortisol can be the bane of a good night's sleep's existence. The tossing, turning, insomnia and/or stress dreams that enter the fray of those who are overstressed rob us of precious hours of sleep even if we are going to bed with plenty of time to get in our full seven to eight hours. Decompress in the hours leading up to bedtime. Find healthy ways to release some of the built up stress during the day through working out, meditating, journaling and breathing exercises. Place a greater importance on setting aside time each day to relax/release and your cortisol levels will decrease through better stress management and you'll up your chances of deeper sleep at night.
2) No Electronics in Bed:
Many folks are in the habit of surfing the internet, playing games on their phone and/or watching TV while in bed. They attempt to exhaust themselves through these actions so that they can fall asleep more readily.