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Back to Sleep

Sleep is probably the most underrated aspect of self-care.

Recently, my 6 year old daughter pointed out a scrape on her knee that was healing. She expressed happy surprise. I told her that as long as she ate healthy food and got enough sleep, her body would heal itself.

It’s miraculous, really, our body’s ability to heal.

Sleep is a crucial aspect of health and healing. Getting enough sleep is essential to growth and health. Babies may not sleep for long periods of time, but they do sleep a lot during the day. Toddlers need up to 14 hours of sleep per day! Even my kindergartner needs between 10 and 11 hours of sleep for true health.

https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

One of the first questions I ask any client is how much sleep they get on a nightly basis.

The answer is usually less than 8 hours. The follow up is then about how they usually have trouble falling asleep because they can’t turn their minds off.

I get it. I used to suffer from terrible insomnia. But nowadays I consider myself a sleep professional. I’ve cultivated my ability to lay down and fall asleep, no matter the time of day or what’s going on around me.

I challenge you to make ONE simple change that can dramatically improve your sleep. Lent just began, so commit to making this change from now until Easter.

Turn off the screens.

No checking Facebook or the weather or the news as soon as you get in bed. No reading online news or stories on the couch before bed. If you use your phone as your alarm clock, put it across the room, so that you must get out of bed to turn it off. Or even better, buy a cheap travel alarm clock and move the phone out of your bedroom entirely.

Now, I don’t have a landline, so I keep my phone in my bedroom so I can call 911 if there’s an emergency. But I have scheduled my phone to go to “do not disturb” mode every night at 9:00 PM. Most phones can be scheduled this way, in order to keep your sleep undisturbed.

How to Give Up Your Screens

First, pick a time in the evening when you will turn off and put away all tablets, phones, and computers. Let your friends and family know what you are doing. I suggest the time be your typical dinner time.

Second, give yourself 5 minutes to check for texts and emails and messages after your kids are in bed. That way you can make sure you don’t miss anything essential.

Third, enjoy your newly freed up time. Tidy up the house. Read a book or a magazine. Go for a walk.

As with all new things, this will work better if you can get your family involved. Invite them to give up screens with you. Have a family time instead.

The blue wavelength of electronic light adversely impacts our sleep hormones, so giving up screens will definitely improve the quality of your sleep.

 

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