Sleep deprivation impacts every part of our lives. Relationships, work, physical health, and other activities all suffer when sleep is inadequate. Here are my 7 tips for better sleep.
Getting better sleep can change your world by boosting brain function, balancing hormones, reducing risk of disease, promoting healthy relationships, and generally improving various aspects of your life.
Try these seven tips to improve your sleeping patterns:
Keep a Sleep Schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to work with your body’s natural rhythms. Avoid sleeping in, even when you don’t have to get up for work.
Your internal clock will set itself so that you should wake without the need of an alarm if you are getting enough sleep. If you don’t wake up naturally on your own, you probably need to go to bed earlier.
Engage Sleep Rituals
Tell your brain that it’s time to wind down by using calming rituals. Drink a cup of herbal tea. Meditate. Use progressive muscle relaxation.
Practice deep breathing. Spray lavender on your pillow. Read a mundane book under low lighting. Anything that takes your brain from full throttle to coast will be helpful.
Manage Light Exposure
Light affects our ability to rest. The melatonin we need to make us sleepy is secreted by our brains in the dark. Production of melatonin is produced when there is light (including that of your phone!).
Spend time outside during the day and get as much natural light as possible to encourage natural sleep-wake cycles. As the day closes, avoid exposure to bright light at least an hour prior to bedtime.
Blue light from electronic devices induces wakefulness, so get out of the habit of late-night television, computer screens, phones, and tablets. If you are reading before falling asleep, use a very low watt light. Heavy curtains or sleep masks may be useful for summer hours when it stays light late into the evening.
Exercise During the Day
Exerting excess energy during the day through exercise is great for your body. And it allows for deeper sleep at night. Try to exercise in the morning or afternoon if possible.
A vigorous workout less than three hours before bedtime is likely to keep you awake far into the night. Gentle exercise such as mild stretching or yoga in the evening may promote relaxation and sleep.
Think About What You Eat or Drink
Caffeine, nicotine, heavy meals, sugars, carbs, and alcohol can all impact the ability to sleep well. Sleep is deeper when the body doesn’t have to fight against indigestion, heartburn, sugar highs, or other types of stimulants.
Try eating a heavier lunch and lighter dinner, or move your evening meal up by an hour when possible. Although a glass of wine before bed might feel like it helps you relax, alcohol prevents your brain from completing sleep cycles. If you find yourself waking up at night to go to the bathroom, try limiting your beverage intake a couple of hours before bed.
Avoid Long Naps
If you wake in the morning thinking about the nap you’ll take later, you definitely aren’t getting enough sleep at night.
Naps might seem like a great idea at the time, but they often confuse the internal clock and can keep you from sleeping at night. Some people do function better with a short power nap of just 20-30 minutes. But if you have trouble falling asleep at night, try cutting out the nap.
Some people simply can’t get their bodies to produce enough melatonin to help them relax. Some studies have found that people who take a supplement of 2mg of melatonin before bed fall asleep faster, sleep better, and have more energy the following day.
Other supplements or herbs, such as Valerian Root, Magnesium, Ginko biloba, Lavender, and Chamomile may also be beneficial in promoting restorative sleep.
Modern lifestyles often lack in physical activity, overexpose us to evening light, and keep us running ragged with stress. You can counteract these influences with simple habits to promote healthier sleep, increase your ability to lose weight, and provide an all-around healthier lifestyle.
I hope my tips for better sleep help you!