Sleep is essential to feeling healthy. Sleeping well can help you stay focused and alert throughout the day, making you more productive. When you are leading a busy life, sleep is often one of the first things cut out, which adds to higher stress levels. Stay well both physically and mentally with these five tips for improving your sleep.
1) A Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine isn’t just for children. At any age, having the same routine before bed signals to your body that it is time to wind down and prepare to sleep. You can read for a few minutes, prepare a cup of herbal tea, take a shower, listen to some calming music, or turn the lights down in your house. You will fall asleep faster if you perform the same routine every night before bed.
2) The Right Temperature
Often a room or bed can become too hot or too cold causing you to wake up in the night. Interrupted sleep, even if it is for a few minutes prevents you from getting the quality sleep you need. Make sure your thermostat is set to a cool, but still comfortable temperature. Use sheets that breath and won’t lock in moisture during the night. Down or alternative down are excellent choices for a blanket, because it provides insulation, not letting the bed become too hot or too cold.
3) An Ideal Bedtime Snack
Don’t eat junk foods or a big meal too close to going to sleep. An upset or uncomfortable stomach will keep you awake or wake you up. On the other hand, an empty stomach can also wake you. A light carb with a little dairy (if you tolerate it) is an ideal snack before bed. The carbohydrate will give your body the energy you need to make it through the night and the dairy offers a bit of protein to help regulate your blood sugar. Try a few whole grain crackers and cheese, a whole grain cereal with milk, or plain yogurt with granola. These are perfect snacks to have before you doze off.
4) Avoid Alcohol
A night cap is commonly thought of as an excellent way to relax and wind down before going to sleep. While alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, WebMD cites 27 studies that found it has a negative effect on overall sleep. Alcohol can disrupt your REM sleep, an important part of the sleep cycle, leaving you feeling groggy and unrested in the morning.
5) A Regular Schedule
According to the National Sleep Foundation most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Everyone is different, so some people may need more while others need less. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule can help your body stay on track so that you fall asleep and rest well every night. It is an easy habit to fall into to stay up late on the weekends and sleep in late in the morning. It is much better for your body to stick to the routine. If you need to stay up late, it is better to get up at the regular time and take a nap to restore your energy later in the day.
If you have trouble sleeping, or sleep but still feel tired when you wake up, try these five tips for getting quality sleep. Improving the quality of your sleep may be what you need to reduce your stress levels, improve your overall productivity, and feel physically healthier.