Sleep is an essential part of your overall health. Sleep has direct ties to longevity, mood, and quality of life. If you find that you’re tired or cranky throughout the day, you may want to evaluate your sleeping habits. To improve those habits and ensure you get a great night’s sleep, try implementing these 6 suggestions into your daily routine:
Many studies show that regular exercise promotes better sleep. Exercise can also help correct and improve the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea. Those who engage in regular exercise, even something as light as a daily 10-minute walk, can expect to sleep longer and deeper than those who don’t. Since exercise activates your metabolism and stimulates your hormones, try to complete your daily workout a few hours before bed. This gives your body time to cool down and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
2. Healthy Diet
Your diet has an important effect on how well you sleep, so it’s important to monitor what you eat in the hours leading up to your bedtime. Try to avoid large, heavy dinners that are packed with rich and fatty foods. Though these meals taste great, they can cause heartburn and stomach problems. They’re also difficult for your body to digest, which may keep you up at night. You should also avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can keep you awake up to 12 hours after drinking it. In contrast, alcohol may help you to relax and fall asleep, but it also interferes with your sleep cycles, decreasing the quality of your sleep.
3. Quality Mattress
Never underestimate the power of a quality mattress in promoting a good night’s sleep. You sleep best when you have a mattress that provides you enough room and support to move and rest comfortably. Experiment with a variety of mattress firmness levels, or try out adjustable beds direct from St. Louis Park. As you test out different adjustments and materials, you’ll be able to find a bed that’s best suited to your body, which will improve the quality and quantity of your sleep each night.
4. Less Screen Time
Exposure to your phone or laptop before bed can confuse your brain. Since your body is trained to associate bright lights with daytime, as you look at a screen your brain assumes it’s daytime and produces hormones that keep you awake and alert. This nighttime light, especially the blue light emitted by electronics, can disturb your body’s natural sleep rhythm and make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep come bedtime.
5. Don’t Nap
Though short naps can be a great way to recharge during the day, long naps drain your body of energy and keep you from falling asleep at night. If you need a nap, keep it to 15 or 20 minutes. Those who struggle with insomnia may want to eliminate naps altogether.
6. Get Outside
Exposure to sunlight, especially early in the day, will help you to stay alert throughout the day and sleep better at night. Your brain is trained to respond to light as it regulates your sleep-wake cycle. When your body is exposed to more light, it secretes more melatonin, a hormone connected to sleep. This melatonin helps keep you awake, and as it gets dark and your brain slows down the production of melatonin, your brain then recognizes that it’s time to sleep. By getting outside during the day and opening your windows, you help fuel your body’s natural sleep cycle, which means you’ll be less drowsy during the day and ready to sleep come night.
As you make quality sleep a priority, you’ll find that you’re more energized, happy, and productive throughout the day. Improving your sleep may require some lifestyle changes, like giving up screens at night or adopting a regular exercise routine, but these changes are well worth the effort.