How to get better sleep
I don’t know about you but many times a year I find myself struggling to get proper rest. Life can be so stressful when it comes to balancing a work life with a personal life. If you’re married with children, elderly parents and/or a buzzing social life it gets even more difficult to make yourself a priority. One thing that should always be at the top of your list is enough rest- or else you’ll never be fit for anything else you need to do. Here’s a few tips on how to get better sleep.
The best thing you can do for your body is by creating a rest routine you stick to. Try to go to sleep at the same time every single night. Make sure you are actually tired, or else you run the risk of tossing and turning. While trying to determine the right time for yourself- consider when you want to wake up each day and count backwards from that. Most people need 6-8 hours a night to function at their best.
Don’t sleep in
I know it’s tempting when the weekend finally rolls around to stay in bed a couple extra hours but it won’t help you in the long run. It all comes back to being consistent. If you stay up late Friday night and sleep in for 3 more hours than usual Saturday- you will dismantle your body’s sense of regularity. Experts suggest taking a nap mid-day after a late night as opposed to tacking that sleep on to your morning. Remember, your sleep-wake rhythm is what we’re trying to establish and protect.
Stop napping during the day
There’s nothing wrong with 20 or 30 minutes here or there during the day after a really late night. Habitual nappers, however- will want to knock that off as soon as possible. Research shows people who nap during the day for an hour or more suffer from staying asleep or falling asleep, depending on the time of day the naps take place. You want your body to rely on a good nights sleep for energy, not mid-day slumbers.
Don’t give in
If you frequently find yourself incredibly tired after dinner but you have hours to go before you’d normally go to sleep, don’t give in! Fight through the drowsiness and keep yourself awake until your usual bedtime. Don’t use caffeine or high levels of sugar to keep you going though, that will get your body in the wrong zone and you’ll prevent yourself from actually falling asleep on time.
Soak in the Sun
Every morning, make it a priority to get outside for a little while and soak up the sun. Not only will the warm light help wake you up, but Vitamin D is very important! Melatonin is a natural hormone controlled by light that will help influence your sleep-wake cycle. Light will keep your brain alert, whereas darkness will force your brain to secret more melatonin which will make you drowsy.
Avoid Screens before bed
This one is tough for me because I love to sleep to the TV, and I love to browse my phone before going to sleep. Unfortunately the light from these screens suppress melatonin, keeping your brain more alert than tired. Sleep in a very dark room. If you wake up in the middle of the night, avoid turning on lights if you need to get up. Have some soft night lights in your hallway or bathroom if need be.
Even just 10 minutes of vigorous activity a day will improve your sleep cycle. It may take a few months of consistent daily exercise before you feel the full effects, but it works! Considering people should average 30 min. of activity every other day, it’s a good goal to set whether your sleep is suffering or not.