Physical Well-Being Part 1: Sleep
“Getting started is the hardest part.” a thought that we tell ourselves and others when they ask how our diet, exercise plan, or other physical well-being goal has been going. The idea of starting being “hard” is an idea that we must take the time to dismantle. For those of us who try to obtain physical well-being through unsustainable levels of discipline, we often end up frustrated with how unrealistic these behaviors are to maintain in the long run. We should not suffer and struggle our whole lives to reach physical well-being.
On the contrary, cultivating a healthy relationship with ourselves – tuning into and prioritizing our needs – can be an enjoyable part of our lives to look forward to! And contrary to what we tell ourselves, getting started does not have to be difficult. Keeping in mind the various dimensions of physical well-being, this series will focus on three small efforts (sleep, body fuel, and physical activity) that you can do daily to promote overall health.
Part 1 of our Physical Well-Being Series is all about sleep!
Although getting adequate amounts of sleep may seem like an easy feat, it is often overlooked as a health priority. Both the quantity (i.e. the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep) and quality of sleep matters in promoting physical well-being1. Here are some tips for better sleep:
- Avoid excessively long daytime naps that can disrupt your sleep schedule.
- Good news for the nappers reading this though! A brief 30-minute or less nap may actually improve mood and alertness.
- Limit caffeine from coffee, tea, and/or soda intake to at least 6 hours before bed.
- Condition yourself to associate the bedroom with sleeping. Avoid using your phones, laptops, and other electronic devices in your bedroom.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Take a warm shower/bath, have a cup of non-caffeinated tea, read a relaxing book, or do a skincare routine.
- Avoid large meals that are greasy or spicy. Having these meals before bed may cause indigestion and discomfort which can impair sleep.
Better sleep could start tonight if you choose one or two of those ideas and start now! Physical wellness does not have to be a goal that we struggle and suffer to obtain. Rather, it is certainly achievable to have a healthy relationship with ourselves in which we prioritize small efforts that cumulate into enhanced physical wellness. Take the time to define your goals (write them out!) and commit to mindfully incorporating small steps throughout your daily life to reach them. Most importantly, be honest with yourself in choosing to enjoy the journey to physical wellness.
Look for the rest of this series!
Sarret Seng is a psychiatric nurse at Eastern State Hospital with degrees in both psychology and nursing. About her own physical well-being, she says, “Personally, I have found that training to get better at certain activities, specifically Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and rock climbing, keeps me motivated to care for my body while enjoying and looking forward to the training.”
Olson, Eric J. How many hours of sleep are enough for good health? Mayo Clinic, n.d. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898. Accessed 15 May 2020.