5 Things to Improve Your Sleep
Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep. If you’re getting less than that on a regular basis, you might notice the problems start rolling in. Without sleep, you’re looking at increased irritability and aggression, lack of appetite control, and memory problems. To be the solution-finding, creative person you normally are, you need adequate sleep every night. Here are five things you can do to get more (and better) sleep.
1. Sleep-Promoting Bedroom
The body needs specific conditions to successfully fall and stay asleep. The three words to remember are dark, cool, and quiet. Block out light, turn down the thermostat, and try to keep the bedroom as quiet as possible.
Finally, make sure your mattress doesn’t contribute to your wakefulness. A good mattress should fully support your body weight and sleep style. That means it needs to relieve pressure points so that no part of your body is sore, achy, or numb in the morning.
2. Consistent Routine (and Bedtime)
Your brain recognizes and tries to support consistent patterns of behavior. A regular bedtime for weekdays and weekends trains your brain when to start the sleep cycle. You can fully strengthen the sleep cycle by waking up at the same time every day too.
A bedtime routine adds to the predictability of your behavior and also gives you a chance to de-stress before falling asleep. Relaxing activities that are done in the same order and performed at the same time every night prepare your mind and body for successful sleep. It can be as simple as changing into pajamas and brushing your teeth or as elaborate as a warm bath while burning a candle and listening to quiet music. Do what works for you.
3. Exercise Outside
Exercising outside has a two-fold sleep benefit. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins. If you’re feeling happy, you’re less likely to have trouble falling asleep. Exercise also has the potential to wear out your body and make you feel more tired at night.
Daytime exposure to natural light regulates the sleep cycle by suppressing sleep hormones during the day so they’re prepped and ready for release at night. A morning or afternoon walk or run is the perfect way to strengthen your sleep cycle long before bedtime.
4. Learn to Calm the Mind
A calm mind is one that can rest easy. The ability to slow racing thoughts can be invaluable at bedtime. Mediation is a centuries-old practice that trains you to keep your thoughts in the present and clear the mind of stressful thoughts of the past or future. You can learn meditation in classes, apps, and online videos. You can use meditation at any time throughout the day, including as part of your bedtime routine.
5. Be Mindful of Screentime and Caffeine
Too much exposure to bright light before bed can delay the onset of your sleep cycle. Try to turn off your laptop, television, and put down your smartphone two to three hours before bed.
And we all know what happens to sleep when caffeine gets involved. It might be perfect for your morning pick-me-up, but it blocks the sleep hormones you need at night. How long it takes to rid your system of caffeine’s effects varies from person to person. Start with a four-hour window and cut back earlier if you still have trouble falling asleep.
These tips are a good start to better sleep. Be consistent and mindful of your body’s sleep needs. Give your body time to adjust and make a commitment to better sleep. Your personal and professional life can all benefit from the peaceful rest that follows.