7 Steps Toward the Best Sleep of Your Life

September 28, 2020 | Health

You snoozed your alarm today and consumed copious amounts of coffee, but you still feel drowsy. What gives? You probably didn’t get enough sleep last night and you’re not alone. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 adults fall short in the sleep department. Try these tips for restful nights and happy mornings.

Set a bedtime and stick to it.

Your body’s circadian rhythm requires a consistent sleep schedule. This gives you better sleep quality and helps you awaken feeling refreshed. Try to go to sleep and get yourself up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

Have a peaceful nighttime routine.

Start unwinding an hour before bed. Our sleep suffers when we’re stressed so try to relax by listening to music, reading a book, taking a bath or shower, playing an instrument, meditating, or doing whatever else calms you. Plan for eight hours of sleep plus an extra half hour in case you have trouble falling asleep or need a little extra shut eye the next morning.

Make a sleep cave.

Your bedroom should stay cool, dark, and quiet. Remove clutter or anything that stresses you and consider redecorating to make a more serene space. Your bedding is a big part of how you sleep so make sure your mattress, pillows, and sheets are comfortable. You can also try using relaxing scents like lavender before bed.

Banish distractions.

If it disrupts your sleep, it goes. You’ll benefit by leaving your phone in another room and keeping pets and kids in their own beds. If your partner’s snoring or restlessness wakes you at night, you might need to sleep in separate rooms to get the sleep you need! Give your mind a rest and steer clear of wandering thoughts when it’s time for bed.

Control your exposure to light.

Your body needs bright light during the day and darkness at night in order to fall and stay asleep. In the morning, try to spend time in front of a sunny window as soon as you can to signal your body to wake up. Also let as much natural light into your home and office as you can to stay alert all day. At night, avoid screens before bed and keep your bedroom completely dark when it’s time to sleep. This will signal your brain to release melatonin, which regulates your sleep cycle.

Get into the exercise groove.

We’re sorry to nag but exercise really does benefit your sleep! You’ll snooze more soundly at night and feel alive throughout the day. Exercise even helps treat severe insomnia and sleep apnea. The harder you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits are, but even light exercise will help. Here’s the catch: it takes a few months of consistent exercise before you experience the sleep-promoting benefits so be patient and focus on making it a habit.

Eat right to sleep tight.

Your diet makes a big difference in your sleep patterns, especially in the evening hours. Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine can cause sleep issues up to 12 hours later, so try to limit them earlier in the day. Alcohol may relax you but it actually interferes with your sleep cycle and causes restless sleep. The same goes for refined carbs and sugary foods.

Lifestyle changes aren’t easy so try taking it one change at a time. Great sleep is important for your health and happiness. Nighty night!

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