Sleep is incredibly important for your health and wellbeing. Living everyday life is a completely different experience when you are well-rested. Imagine doing your day-to-day activities without a foggy brain or a cranky attitude — people will annoy you less and to-dos will seem way more manageable!
Here are a few easy steps to ensure you get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go!
1. Regularize Your Sleep & Wake Patterns
You know when you get too little sleep for a few nights in a row? And then you finally have a night to catch up on some shut-eye, you sleep for maybe 10 to 12 hours — and then when you wake up from that long sleep you somehow feel even more tired than you did before? This is because inconsistent sleep can be just as tiring as not enough sleep. Keeping a steady sleep pattern is essential!
Developing a consistent sleep cycle will do wonders for your energy levels. If you go to sleep and wake up at around the same times every day, you will feel a big difference!
2. Soak in the Daylight in the Morning
The more natural light, the better. When you wake up in the morning, spend a few moments directly in the sun or by a sunny window. This immediate exposure to bright daylight will help you get a better night’s sleep. It’s also a good idea to continue spending time in the daylight as much as possible throughout the day.
Research has shown that people who are exposed to morning sunlight are more likely to fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night with almost no wake-ups. This is because your body will produce nocturnal melatonin sooner rather than later — basically, our sleeping habits naturally want to follow the day-to-night schedule.
3. Keep Your Room is Dark & Quiet at Night
When your day is finally done and it’s time for some shut-eye, make sure your room is as dark as can be. Cover light filtering through windows and any electronics in your room. Also, the quieter the better! You’re trying to create a situation where your body is completely convinced that it is time to power down.
4. Regulate Naps
Naps are great, especially when you feel exhausted and it’s not even close to a normal bedtime; however, they might be messing with your ability to fall asleep at night. Try to keep your naps limited to 20 minutes in the early afternoon for optimal sleep at night.
5. Manage Light Exposure
Limit your screentime before bed. I’m sure you’ve heard it before — but it the less light before bed, the better! While it’s recommended to avoid all bright light before bed, it’s especially important to stay away from blue light that TVs, phones, computers, and tablets all emit.
You can also reduce blue light exposure by wearing blue light filtering glasses or switching your phone to night shift. There are also plenty of apps you can download that will filter blue light coming from your devices.
6. Exercise is Key
Any amount of regular exercise can do wonders for your quality of sleep. The more strenuous the exercise, the better your night of rest will be! If you feel twitchy or restless in bed, your muscles are probably itching for more movement.
Getting your heart rate up through cardio, even for as little as ten minutes per day, can help you battle insomnia. Building muscles through strength training is said to help you fall asleep faster and lessen the number of times you wake up at night. It is important, though, to make sure you do your heavy-duty exercising in the morning or afternoon, rather than in the evening. Keep your evening and night exercises calm, like going for a short walk or doing some light yoga. Blood-pumping workouts are better left for at least three to four hours before sleep.
7. Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol Before Sleep
It’s important to stay away from caffeine (at all costs) before bed. Some experts say that caffeine can affect your sleep quality if you have it even 7 to 10 hours before hitting the sack! There are substantial quantities of caffeine in foods like ice cream, chocolate, and pudding; all of which are typical after-dinner desserts. Caffeine is also hidden in a few surprising foods like breakfast cereals and decaf coffee!
Alcohol is also something you should avoid before bed. While alcohol may help you to fall asleep quicker or even keep you sleeping longer, it will negatively affect the quality of your sleep and disrupt your REM.
8. Limit Sugar & Carbs
Eating processed sugar and refined carbs; like white bread, pasta, cookies, and cakes; can alter your sleep patterns, making you more prone to waking up in the night. If you switch to more complex carbs and healthier foods, you may have a much better night’s sleep!
9. Wind Down
As your bedtime quickly approaches, it’s a good idea to lessen mind-stimulating activities. Watching an intense movie or having a difficult conversation right before bed can make it hard to fall asleep quickly. Giving yourself enough time to relax and be at peace in your mind will make getting some shut-eye a whole lot easier.
Again, give yourself time before bed to take a breather! It’s especially hard some nights if you have a lot of issues or worries clouding your mind, but coming up with your own methods to destress can help you get a much better night’s sleep! Find something that helps you shut your brain off. There are numerous possibilities — breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, journaling, praying, reading, cleaning, going for a walk, chatting with a friend or family member — and many, many more! It’s important to let your stresses take a back seat for the sake of a better night’s sleep!
And for those nights when nothing seems to work — you are beautiful and capable, and it will get better. 🙂