It’s no secret a large portion of us is impacted by lack of sleep. This can hinder our day-to-day activities and affect overall health. Falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up are not always a walk in the park. You need roughly eight hours of sleep every night, but do you know how your daily habits can affect that? Follow these simple tips to help improve your sleep quality:
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day. It takes a week to adjust to a new sleep pattern, but just one day to return to a typical sleeping pattern. Try not to break this routine on weekends when activities or TV shows may tempt you to stay up later.
Getting consistent physical activity every day will help improve and maintain the quality of your sleep. Avoid working out a few hours before bedtime, as this will make it difficult to fall asleep.
Eat 3-4 Hours Before Bedtime
When your body digests food, your heart rate increases to metabolize the food. Try to avoid or narrow down spicy or acidic dinner foods; they can cause stomach pains and heartburn.
Avoid Caffeine Before Bedtime
Caffeine makes us feel more alert by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and raising adrenaline production. Cut yourself off from caffeine 10-12 hours before bedtime to avoid tossing and turning for hours. No more afternoon coffee breaks! Decaffeinated tea is great option to replace a warm cup of coffee.
If you are usually very tired during the day, taking a quick 20 to 30 minute nap is a good solution. Be sure to fit in a nap between noon and 4 p.m. to match the low point of the body’s circadian cycle. If you suffer from insomnia, skip the nap — this could worsen your condition.
We all know how addicting smartphones can be; however, technology is stimulating to the mind, rather than relaxing. Also, the backlight on the device can suppress melatonin production. Trade your phone or tablet in for a book before going to sleep.
Meditate Before Zzz’s
After a busy day at work or school, we are left with a millions things racing through our minds. Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to calm the mind and prepare for sleep. Relax every muscle in your body while taking deep, slow breaths. Visualize a peaceful place, such as waterfall or ocean, and concentrate on how relaxed this place makes you feel.