5 Easy Steps to Improving Your Sleep
During this time of year we are all under tremendous amounts of stress. Between winter blues, the school year difficulties, potential lapsing on your News Years resolutions and tax season approaching, one consequence of all this stress can be decreased quality of sleep and restlessness during the night. This is often caused by an inability to “shut off” the brain at night and leave the worries of the day behind. Take some time to use some of these helpful tips to improve your “sleep hygiene” and get the adequate rest you need to progress through your days. Improving quality of sleep can help to increase mood, decrease food cravings, and increase overall energy during the day.
- Stay Mindful of Caffeine Consumption: although coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages can be a great addition to your day, they have long half-lives meaning it takes the body many hours to dissipate the effect of stimulation of caffeine on the body. Caffeine’s half-live is around 5 hours, so try to drink the majority of your caffeine earlier in the day to help prevent disruptions with your sleep.
- Limit Naps During the Day: if you are already dealing with the effects of insomnia, naps can be extremely tempting. However, taking multiple naps in a day or naps spanning an hour or more may impact the next night’s quality of sleep. If you need to nap, setting a timer for 30 minutes or less can help you stay on track. Studies show these short naps help increase feeling of alertness as well as boosting your mood.
- Exercise and Move: even a small amount of exercise every day can improve your sleep. Whatever your schedule is, try to make time for some sort of exercise. Whether that’s a lift at the gym after work, a walk outside, or some yoga, all of it can be beneficial for you.
- Spend Time Outside: getting enough sunlight is an excellent way to help keep your internal clock functioning efficiently. Spend some time outside (when it warms up) or enjoy a meal next to a sunny window to get your daily dose of sunshine.
- Create a Relaxing Atmosphere: make sure your bedroom is comfortable and inviting for you after you finish your day. Having soft blankets, comfortable pillows, and a cool room can all help you feel more relaxed. Curtains that block out sunlight or a sleep-mask can also both be good additions to help you sleep better at night. This summer make it your mission to improve your sleep. Trying one or more of these tips can all set you on the path of creating a better routine surrounding sleep. Stay healthy and well-rested!