Tag Archives: sleep

Guest Post: Improve Your Outlook on Life with Better Sleep Habits with Julie Morris


Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Did you know your mental health is linked to your sleep habits? Our brains regroup while we sleep, so of course health suffers when we don’t get enough. Here is more information about why you need a good night’s sleep for your mental wellness, and what you can do about it.

Unhealthy at Best

Most people don’t think that mental health and sleep are connected, but going without sleep is extremely unhealthy. We can get irritable when we do without, but it’s more than that. In fact, it can damage mental health. According to Newsweek, when we’re sleep deprived, crankiness is just the top layer of trouble. On top of being cranky, poor sleep habits can cause you to engage in negative thought patterns, continually mulling over bad things and focusing on what’s wrong in life. When you start digging in, some studies show a connection between too little sleep and a number of serious mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and paranoia are connected with not getting enough sleep. Apparently, old-school science felt poor sleep stemmed from depression, but some newer studies show it’s the other way around. Bottom line: Sleep deprivation doesn’t stop with a rotten attitude.

How Much Is Enough?

Every mind and body is different, but there are some general guidelines for how much sleep we need. Most adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night. Children generally require quite a bit more — around 12 hours or more in youngsters and up to 17 hours in infants – and older adults can require somewhat less. If you’re groggy during the day or rely on caffeine for a boost, those are indicators you should get more sleep, or the quality of your sleep could use improvement. So what can you do about that? Plenty.

Sleep Environment

Your sleep environment plays a big role in the quality of your slumber. Adding aromatherapy in restful scents like lavender or cedarwood can be a boon. Sleep patterns are inherently linked to daylight, so controlling the light in your environment can also equate to better quality sleep. One suggestion is to dim lights close to bedtime and ensure the room is completely dark for sleep. Another great way to improve sleep quality is with a new mattress, especially if you suffer with aches and pains. Don’t pick the first mattress that comes along; read reviews and choose a high-quality mattress that suits your sleeping style, whether you’re a hot sleeper, sleep on your side, or whatever your idiosyncrasies are.

Better Routine

Do you tend to stay up late some nights watching favorite shows or lingering over social media, then try to make up for it other nights by going to bed early or by napping? It turns out that habit can contribute to poor slumber. HuffPost suggests setting a schedule to improve your sleep habits. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day can help your body develop a healthy rhythm.

Drop the Bedtime Snack

Many of us enjoy a late-evening snack before turning in, but it turns out it could be a contributing factor in poor sleep quality. If you do grab a little something before bed, choose a light snack and steer clear of fatty, spicy, or deep-fried foods. Also, avoid caffeine late in the day since the stimulant effect can be counterproductive.

Sleep Well

With a handful of good habits, you can improve your sleep and your mental health. Next time you’re feeling cranky, consider how you’re sleeping and look for ways to improve. Better slumber can mean a healthier mind.


One of those days…

I woke up completely exhausted this morning. It probably has to do with this being my first full week back at the office since I was sick. Pair that with me trying to work through all off the errands that piled up while I was sick? Yeah, I’ve had to take power naps twice this week, which I rarely do. Unfortunately, as you all know, the world does not stop because you’re sleepy. So, between phone calls and grocery runs, I’ve been flipping through the images on my “Cozy” Pinterest board and fantasizing about how decadent it would feel to be curled up in my stretchy pants with a soft fluffy blanket, sipping a mug of something rich, and snugging my fur babies.

Cozy 7 Cozy 4 Cozy 2 Cozy 1 Cozy 3 Cozy 8 Cozy 9

In this fantasy, it’s also about 30 degrees cooler outside and dark. A girl can dream, right? Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? What would you rather be doing today?

All images from my Cozy Pinterest board.


When I am sick…

 

Sickly

I didn’t post on Friday, again. Because I was sick, again. I think life just finally caught up with me. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep, my doctor and I have been trying to step down the dosage of my migraine meds, huge deadline looming at the office, allergies and of course, cat shenanigans. If it was only one or two of these things, I’d probably have been fine, but all together…not so much. I did manage to pull it together for a few hours on Friday for Andy’s birthday dinner, but the rest of the weekend I spent sleeping or curled up on the couch, or sleeping curled up on the couch. Nothing says quality together time like trying to play video games with your wife snoring next to you.  Like everyone else, I hate being sick. I get grumpy and feel sorry for myself, which is load of fun to be around, let me tell you.  Over the years, I’ve discover certain things that make the situation a little more bearable. As soon as I start to feel poorly Andy pulls out the list and battens down the hatches.

Julie’s Mopey-Pants Sick List:

  • The quilt my grandpa gave me when I went away to college – partially for nostalgic reasons (it has been on the end of my bed since 2004) and it’s been washed a bazillion times so it’s crazy soft and snuggly.
  • My pillow – not a throw pillow, or any other pillow in the house, MY pillow, with a clean cotton pillow case.
  • Apple Juice – I don’t know why, but I always want it.
  • Cold water – To stay hydrated
  • A very large glass with a very long straw – Large heavy glass because it holds more and it’s harder to knock over. Straw so I don’t have to unfold myself from whatever strange ball I’ve curled into.
  • Make the house as dark and cool as possible – perfect habitat for sleeping and hiding under/in lots of blankets.
  • Yoga pants and tank top – preferable that I’ve owned for a while. Soft and stretchy, they allow me to comfortably fold myself into the aforementioned strange ball.
  • Easy entertainment – A book or movie that I’ve seen/read before so I find it distracting enough to keep me from dwelling on how bad I feel, but I won’t be upset if I fall sleep and miss something.

So that’s my list, a little silly, but it works. On an unrelated note: Octavian is doing much better, he is at the vet today so they can do a glucose curve. Basically they’ll give him his morning food and insulin and then draw blood every two hours to make sure his levels don’t dramatically drop or spike. If everything works out, we can keep him on his current regiment, if not they’ll have to adjust his dosage and probably do this again in a week. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Image from here.


All Out of Whack

This has been the strangest, most unbearably long week in a very long time. My boss was out the office yesterday, I woke up positive it was Friday this morning and the office park my company was in received notice that we were quarantined this morning.  It was all cleared up in a few hours, there was apparently a suspicious abandoned car across the street, but this day is now clearly defined as “one of those days”. I knew I should have called in and snuggled back into the soft covers this morning.

Yes, I did build myself a Pinterest board entitled “Sleeping In“. Although, according to Andy, none of these accurately portrays how I sleep. Evidently, I curl up and nest with the comforter all around me, and Andy has to look for the “air hole” I leave around my face to locate my exact position. As far as I can figure, this is probably the result of years of sleeping in the same bed as cats that will headbutt or paw at any visible hands or feet. Either way, the take away from today is this,”I should have listened to the fluffy orange cat and stayed in bed.”


The Most Important Meal of the Day

Ahh breakfast, my favorite meal of the day.  Unfortunately, i’m not much of a morning person so until I married Andy my breakfast usually consisted of coffee and whatever I could grab on my way out the door.

Now, my very wonderful husband makes me breakfast every morning before we head our separate ways (lately I can’t seem to get enough oatmeal with orange blossom honey!).  On the weekends I do my best to return the favor, I love the variety that breakfast offers. You can go light or heavy, savory or sweet, there is a little something for everyone.  As soon as things quiet down a bit at the office (only a few more days of tax season left!) I am going to persuade Andy to take a day off so we can sleep in, make some pancakes and a hot cup of tea and have breakfast on the couch in our pajamas surrounded by furry little beggars.

Images from here.