Sleep is one of the most important factors for your daily success. Finding your sleep routine is quite simple; however, there are some key habits that affect sleep more than you think. If you’re someone who constantly feels tired or feel you don’t sleep well- you’re in the right place! Try the below recommendations to finally get the sleep you want.
1. Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
Try focusing on going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends. Your body will feel refreshed and this will help improve the quality of your sleep. If you’re unable to get to bed at your regular time, don’t be shy to take a short 15-20 minute nap during the day. This is actually better for your sleep schedule than sleeping-in to ‘catch up’ on sleep.
One thing to be careful of is the ‘evening-drowsiness’. Studies show that most of the population watch tv at night and many people will fall asleep while sitting in their chair or on the couch. This affects your sleep in a big way. You will fall sleep later and even wake up more often throughout the night. If you experience the ‘evening-drowsiness’, try to keep your body moving to stay stimulated. You will notice your sleep schedule has improved.
Exercise During the Day
One of the best ways to wake your body up or get over the “exhausted” feeling in the morning is exercise. Get into a routine where you perform any type of exercise within 20-30 minutes of waking up. Not only will the exercise make you feel energized and focused, it will also make you more productive throughout your day. Exercising in the morning makes you accomplish a task, which sets up the rest of your day for success.
If you don’t exercise first thing in the morning, make sure you exercise at some point throughout your day. It will refresh your body and keep you motivated. A common saying is “a workout makes me feel more rested than a nap”. Which is true because your body will circulate your blood, release endorphins and reduce anxiety/stress. Try to avoid vigorous exercise 2-3 hours before bed so you can fall asleep to maintain your sleep schedule.
This may sound repetitive, but getting outside for sunlight and fresh-air is so important. “Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle” (HelpGuide, 2019). Many people take a melatonin supplement to help them sleep. A good thing to try is getting more sunlight exposure throughout the day which, in simple terms, can allow for the release of more melatonin at night time which will make you feel tired.
If you have an office job, try being close to a window or take breaks outside for more light exposure. Even during COVID-19, you may be indoors more often and having trouble falling asleep early. Take some time to have your coffee outside or go for a short walk for some sunlight and exercise. It will help the quality of your sleep.
Eat and Drink Properly
Your eating and drinking habits can have a direct impact on your sleep. Depending on what type of food you eat can prevent you from falling asleep or staying asleep, and the same thing goes for drinking.
If you drink too many liquids late at night, you will most likely have to wake up and use the bathroom. If you drink alcohol at night, your sleep quality won’t be the same and your circadian rhythms can be affected.
Avoid having large meals at night and stay away from high sugar and processed foods. The way your body digests these types of food and the actions they have on your body will prevent you from a quality sleep and will also affect your sleep schedule.
Screen-Time at Night
Technology has become a great way to watch your favorite shows, read the news or a book, have a video call with friends or family or play a game. Although these are thought to be a way to relax or unwind at night, they actually stimulate your brain which causes the opposite effect. The blue light off of your phone, tablet, laptop or TV can actually suppress melatonin (HelpGuide, 2019) and not allow the brain to relax.
Instead of using devices that give off light, try using things that don’t require you to look at a screen, especially 2 hours before bed. You’ll be able to keep your sleep schedule and find it easier to unwind at night. Not to mention that we all can use a break from screens due to high-use throughout the day.
If you have trouble sleeping or feel you always wake up tired, try try these recommendations and see if they help you. In some cases, professional help may be required but these are healthy lifestyle habits that can help improve your sleep and overall life. Sleep for success and become happier with yourself!
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