Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your health. Without sleep, your body can’t rejuvenate itself. When it comes to sleep, it’s not just the quantity of sleep that matters, but the quality. When you learn how to optimize your sleep you’ll be more productive, feel mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long. The key is to follow some of our sleep better tips.
Support Your Body’s Natural Rhythms
Did you know that your body has a natural sleep-wake cycle that you should be following? When you try to go against this cycle, you’ll discover that trying to get a good night’s rest is almost impossible. Instead, you should keep a regular sleep scheduled to feel more refreshed and energized. To sleep better, you should try:
- Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Even on the weekends, you should try to go to bed and wake up at the same time as you do every other day of the week. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Be smart about napping. Napping is a great way to recharge in the middle of the day, but it can be a problem if you have trouble falling asleep. Keep your naps to 15-20 minutes during the day so you don’t interrupt your natural sleep rhythm.
- Fight the after-dinner drowsiness. Right after you eat a big meal at night, it’s normal to feel drowsy and to crash in bed immediately. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll typically wake up a few hours later, on a bad schedule. Instead, avoid falling asleep by doing the dishes, calling a friend, or performing some other type of chore, and hold off on sleep until your bedtime.
Control Your Exposure to Light
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is controlled by light exposure. It helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain will secrete more melatonin when it’s dark—making you tired—and less when it’s light. To make sure you sleep better, control when and how you expose yourself to light.
- During the Day: Make sure you get bright sunlight in the morning by immediately opening your blinds and skipping the sunglasses. Then, spend more time outside in the daylight to help keep you awake and make sure that your home and workspace are exposed to as much natural light as possible.
- At Night: While late night TV and playing on your computer seem like a good way to wind down, the truth is that the blue light emitted by electronics can be particularly disruptive to your sleep. Minimize the impact by avoiding electronics two hours before bedtime or using small screens, turning down the brightness, or using light-altering software.
Be Smart About What You Eat & Drink
Your daytime eating and drinking habits play a large role in how well you sleep at night. It’s particularly important to pay attention to what you put in your body in the hours leading up to bedtime.
- Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it. Don’t drink any more caffeine after lunch.
- Stay away from big meals at night. Dinner should not be your biggest meal of the day. Instead, eat a large breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a small dinner.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. While a nightcap may help you relax and fall asleep faster, it doesn’t help you sleep better since it interferes with your sleep cycle.
- Try drinking a cup of Sleep Tea before bed to soothe your nerves, relax your mind, and calm your digestion.
It’s time that you slept better at night!
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