TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP
Sleep is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of your daily routine. The average adult should be getting between 7-8 hours of it in order to function properly during the day. Getting enough sleep is beneficial for your immune system, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and mood, and decision making. Without proper sleep you might find yourself grumpier during the day, incapable of rapid decision making and feeling generally under the weather.
Everyone sleeps but the majority of people do not sleep nearly as much as they need to be which doesn’t only affect them but everyone around them.
So what exactly can you do to ensure at least 7 hours of healthy, uninterrupted sleep every night?
- Turn your bedroom into a sleep inducing wonderland.
Make your bedroom somewhere where sleep is unavoidable. Purchase a high-quality mattress, pillow. Low quality mattresses and pillows can be detrimental to sleep quality and leave you sore and achy in the morning. Look into what kind of specific support you need and purchase accordingly.
Choose bedding that is comforting and inviting. Investing in a silk pillowcase to ensure hair health, extra fluffy blankets or fun throw pillows can make hitting the hay more tempting and enjoyable.
Make sure that you have blackout or near blackout curtains to ensure that you’ll have no light disruption to your sleep. Wearing a sleep mask can do the trick if curtains aren’t an option, along with ear plugs or playing a white noise machine if you experience auditory disruptions in your room. Setting up an essential oil diffuser and diffusing lavender essential oil can also be a calming addition to your sleepy paradise.
- Have a set sleep schedule
Gradually adjust your current schedule to optimize your sleep patterns. If you currently get less than 6 hours of sleep per night, try increasing that amount by 30 minutes every day until you reach the 7-8 hour range. Begin by setting a fixed wake-up time that you will stick to even on weekends. Try to physically get out of bed when you wake up to avoid settling in for an extra 10 minutes turned 2 hours.
Shape your sleep schedule around your daytime schedule. Keep in mind when you need to be at work or simply when you want to start your days to make the most of what you
typically have planned. Based on when you want to be waking up, do the math to
determine when you should be going to bed. Make sure to factor in an extra half an hour or so to allow yourself to completely unwind before dozing off.
- Create a bedtime routine
Actually being asleep should not be the sole relaxing factor in your bedtime routine. Give yourself time to get sleepy before you close your eyes. Turn off your electronics and turn away your alarm clock. Obsessing over the time and whether or not you’re tired just creates unnecessary stress making it more difficult to sleep. Turn off any overhead lights and prepare for a pre-bedtime activity of your choice. This can be reading a book or listening to an audiobook, doing some light stretching, enjoying some soothing music, making and drinking herbal tea, or heating up a hot water bottle- anything that has proven to calm you down in the past. When you feel your eyes start to droop, turn off any remaining lights and hit the hay. If you find yourself getting restless, do not try to force sleep, instead continue your bedtime activity of choice until you’re tired.
- Make sleep-informed choices during the day
It’s important to be mindful of what you choose to do and consume during the day and how that might affect your nighttime sleep. Finding time in your day to exercise, even briefly, will utilize energy and promote sleep when the time comes- try to avoid intense exercise close to bedtime though as it shifts your mind into go-time mode. Choosing to exercise outside can also help with sleep as your internal clock recognizes daylight and how much time you spend in it in order to help your body recognize when it’s time to be awake and asleep.
Monitor your alcohol, nicotine and caffeine intakes. If you notice yourself being reactive to caffeine, try to limit the amount of it you consume. Try to keep your consumption early in the day and limit it to a cup or two of coffee in the morning. Even eating a small piece of chocolate after dinner can be enough caffeine to keep your mind awake while you’re trying to drift off. Alcohol and nicotine should also be avoided especially late at night as they can hinder healthy sleep. Additionally, consuming anything too close to bedtime means that your body will need to commit time and energy to digestion while you’re trying to sleep, disrupting your ideal schedule.
Lastly, it’s important that your bed be for sleep and only sleep. Eating, spending time with friends, or doing work while you’re sitting in bed tells your brain that it needs to be aware and awake anytime you’re using your bed to relax. Try to limit the time that you spend in bed to 30 minutes before you fall asleep and a few minutes in the morning.
Getting enough sleep is essential to a healthy and balanced lifestyle! Experiment with different methods and schedules until you find one that’s best for you- it’s super important to do so. Keep
a sleep journal and monitor how many hours you’re sleeping every night, what sleep and wake time you’ve set for yourself that day and what activities you did right before bed. You can also include anything caffeine you consumed or what kind of exercise you engaged in. Don’t be afraid to get more sleep than you normally do, your body will thank you. Happy slumbering!