Happiness is a Good Night’s Sleep

September/October 2017

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are too many to mention.  And, I’d like to highlight a big one for this article – happiness!

The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults (age 18 – 64) get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Children and teenagers need more. 

If you ask most people what they want out of life – happiness is typically in the top 3.

Researchers have discovered a correlation between happiness and the amount of sleep a person gets each night.

Results of a recent study indicate that people who are “mostly happy” sleep 7+ hours at night. Those who reported the fewest hours of nightly sleep were the least happy, were more discontent in their relationships, worried more and had less gratitude in their life.

Another recent study, found that Sunday night is the most difficult night for people to get a restful night of sleep.

Steve Orma, a clinical psychologist and insomnia specialist, states that a disrupted sleep routine over the weekend is the biggest culprit for poor Sunday night sleep.

“Many people go to bed later on Friday and Saturday nights and then sleep in later on Saturday and Sunday mornings,” Orma states. “So, when they go to bed on Sunday night, they’re often just not tired. And then when they can’t sleep, they start to think about why they’re not sleeping, which only makes things worse.”

Sleep experts agree that job anxiety can be a huge culprit for sleep difficulties, including dread of upcoming meetings/projects, the long commute, fear of failure, anticipation of a negative boss/co-worker or feeling trapped.  

People who worry, ruminate, stew, hold resentments, feel guilt or overthink, also experience difficulties in the area of sleep.

TIPS FOR GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

  • Maintain a regular wake-up time on the weekends.
  • Reduce/eliminate alcohol and caffeine consumption in the evening.
  • Pay attention to the worry/rumination that happens at night and address those stressors head-on. Reducing stress could lead to some pretty radical changes, e.g. job change, terminating a relationship or ending behaviors that create guilt/shame [drinking, gambling, cheating, anger, etc.].
  • Reduce any activities related to work or playing video games in the evening.
  • Use an essential oil to promote sleep, dabbing a little on the bottom of your feet or under your nose.  I purchase my essential oils from https://www.edensgarden.com/.  My 2 favorites for the evening routine are (1) Meditation (a peaceful blend of Lavender, Tangerine, Lemon, Clove Bud, Cedarwood and Chamomile) and (2) Lavender.
  • Incorporate a wind-down routine that is calming, enjoyable and relaxing.  Quieting the mind and inviting a sense of peace can truly nourish your soul and begin the gentle journey to sleep.
  • Avoid naps longer than 15 minutes, especially in the afternoon.
  • Use self-soothing phrases or prayers when anxiety/restlessness begins:
    • I’m ok.  I’m good enough.
    • I’m loved.
    • I’m fine exactly the way I am
    • I’m grateful for ________ and ______ and _______ and ______”
    • One day at a time – I’ll deal with that tomorrow.
    • “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. ….”
  • Do not use sleep tracking devices.  A study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago links sleep problems with the use of these devices. The devices can lead to a fixation or perfectionism related to the data and perpetuates the anxiety. 

“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”

~~ Thomas Dekker, English Dramatist, (1572-1632)

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