Friends - you’re not going to want to sleep on this blog post… see what we did there?
Sleep is such an important lifestyle factor when it comes to your overall health and well-being, but is sadly overlooked by most people. An interesting fact is that scientists still don’t fully understand the concept of sleep, but findings continue to show how much of an impact it plays on our ability to function both mentally and physically. For that reason, we think it’s important that everyone in our community knows how to get the best nights sleep possible.
Check out these five tips to snooze your way to health:
1. Make your bedroom perfect for sleep. Obviously, make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable (for you). A cooler room is best for sleeping – on average, a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18 degrees Celsius) works for most people. Also, make sure your room is dark, and will stay dark as long as you’re able to sleep. Blackout blinds might help, and removing any light sources is best.
2. Be consistent. Your body will thrive with a routine, so set a bedtime (and a wake time) and stick to it! Optimally, these times will be fairly consistent each day of the week – including weekends. It might shift by an hour or two on weekends, but generally, it’s best to have consistency. Also, try to avoid napping as they can confuse your body and hinder the sleep you’re able to get at night.
3. Power off. Reducing the exposure to blue light before bedtime will help your body get ready for sleep. Blue light actually tells your brain NOT to release melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. Without this hormone, your body will have a tougher time winding down for sleep. Additionally, devices which emit blue light also have the ability to spark emotions that could impact sleep. Checking your emails on your phone could spark stress or frustration, something you do not want before trying to fall asleep.
4. Have a bedtime routine to relax. Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids! Establish a set of habits which help you mentally and physically relax that support going to sleep. Reading a book, taking a shower or bath, having a snack, meditating or doing some deep breathing exercises can send the message to your brain that it’s time to wind down.
5. Don’t go to bed hungry. We hope the myth that you can’t eat before bed has run its course! It’s totally fine to eat before bed, just make sure to eat foods that work for you. It’s likely best to avoid spicy foods, and you don’t need to eat too much – you should go to bed satisfied, but not overly full. Also, cut caffeine by 2pm to give it enough time to clear your bloodstream. You might need to remove caffeine earlier if you’re struggling to sleep.
As a bonus tip, being physically active each day will help you sleep at night. Expending energy each day will help make you tired (obviously). Be aware that being active too close to bedtime can actually hinder sleep. Physical activity causes the release of endorphins, which can keep you alert and awake. Try to leave a couple of hours between your planned activity and your bedtime.
We hope one (or all) of these tips helps you improve your sleep – either in terms of quantity or quality. The average adult functions best with 7 hours of sleep each night. But, even if you’re in bed for 7 hours, if you wake up often (known as broken sleep), or you’re never reaching the deep stages of sleep, you aren’t hitting that 7 hours of quality sleep. Take control of the factors you can to help prioritize your sleep.
Thanks for stopping by – and sleep well!