Sleep is important. We have all heard it before. Sleeping well at night can increase your health, quality of life, productivity, as well as safety on the roads. We all know sleep is important, but sometimes getting a good night of sleep is easier said than done. How can you stop the restlessness you feel when you sleep? How can you get to sleep faster instead of lying in bed staring at a blank ceiling for hours on end? How can you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed instead of groggy? Here are 6 tips to help you conquer your 8 hours.
*Note: I am not a doctor. These are simply tips from personal experience and research. If you are struggling with a sleep disorder, see your doctor right away.
Have a Regular Sleep Schedule
This is one of the most important steps. All of us have an internal clock that can be “programmed” to wake us up at a certain time of the day WITHOUT AN ALARM CLOCK! Shocking I know. In order to program this internal clock AND have a healthy sleep schedule, you should go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning (even on the weekends). Also, R.E.M. sleep is an important thing to consider. Your body has a natural sleep cycle that it goes through every night. The R.E.M. periods can start at 5 minutes and get longer as you sleep. R.E.M. (or Rapid Eye Movement) is actually exhausting to your brain, so if you wake up in the middle of a cycle, you won’t feel rested. Apps like Sleep Cycle will record your sleep activity and help you wake up in between cycles.
We cannot say this enough. EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE! The countless benefits are too major to ignore. But today we are talking about sleep. So how can working out help you get the sleep you need? Working out balances your hormones and produces chemicals that are critical to how you sleep. The biggest of these is Melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep chemical that your body creates naturally to help you sleep. When you exercise not only does it help your body produce this chemical, but it helps your body produce it at the right time. So get out there and get that blood pumping!
Relax Before You Sleep
After a stressful day of work, school, taking care of kids, or whatever else you have going on, the best thing you can do for your brain is recharge for the next day. Relaxing activities like taking a bubble bath, reading a book, meditation, and light yoga are great ways to clear your mind and recharge your mental and physical batteries.
Turn Off Your Phone
The blue lights that emanate from your phone cause the melatonin production in your brain that I mentioned before to slow down and possibly stop. You should turn off your phone an hour before you head to bed. I know, this is a difficult thing to do, but trust me your brain will thank you because this also means that those notifications come to a halt for a little bit too. Unplug, it will be good for you.
Keep a Notepad by Your Bed
Write down everything on your mind before you go to sleep. I mean EVERYTHING! From “to do” lists, to random thoughts, to frustrations, to what you’re grateful for, just write it down. These are the kind of thoughts that keep you from falling asleep for 3 hours. This is a proven stress reliever and if you get rid of the stress before hitting the sack, you can get a better night of sleep. So leave your thoughts on the page and if you have things you need to remember, they will be written down for review in the morning.
Drink a Glass of Water
As I talked about previously, balancing your hormones is important for sleep. Drinking water is another thing that can help with this. Water has many minerals that our bodies need to survive and revitalize. So drinking water before bed has numerous benefits other than just helping you sleep. While your body is resting is the perfect time to soak up all of the nutrients that water has and we need. Water also clears toxins and promotes weight loss. That’s a lot to get done while you’re sleeping.
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