A good night’s rest has a significant impact on your day. Sleep issues, especially if you have more than a few nights in a row of tossing and turning, can leave you feeling groggy, irritable, unfocused, and less than your best.
If your internal clock is out of whack, read on for tips on how to better balance your routine and get the much-needed shut-eye that seems so elusive when your head hits the pillow at night.
Look at Your Daytime Routine
Though your bedtime habits, also referred to as sleep hygiene, deserve some upgrades, it could actually be your day-to-day practices that keep you from sleeping soundly. From less than stellar eating habits to an accumulation of stress from work, the way you spend your day greatly impacts both the quality and duration of your sleep during the night.
For a more restful night, make sure your meals are nutrient-dense and full of healthful foods. Processed foods and sugars, especially in excess, have a negative impact on your ability to fall and stay asleep. Regular exercise can help you catch some z’s, too, so it might be time to sign up for a local gym or start researching home options like the cost of a pool or treadmill.
Your body’s circadian rhythm regulates when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep. When your sleep schedule is unsteady or irregular, your body has a hard time falling asleep and waking up with ease. Great sleep habits won’t happen in a single night, but gradual adjustments to your schedule can have you on a consistent schedule in no time.
Start by setting an ideal, fixed bedtime and time to be awake. If you’re typically in bed after midnight, but want to stick to a 10:30 PM bedtime, start trying to go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night so your body has time to adjust and settle into your new schedule.
Fade the Light
Even if you’re getting into bed at your ideal time, what you do after tucking yourself in can make or break your slumber. Too much light at night, especially the blue light emitted by electronic devices, can trick your body into thinking it’s time to be awake. Your circadian rhythm is heavily affected by light, so any efforts to wind down using electronics are likely interfering with your ability to sleep.
Try to give yourself an “electronic sundown” so your body knows it’s nighttime and time to settle in for the evening. At least 30 minutes before you’d like to be in bed, choose electronic-free ways to wind down, such as reading a book, taking a bath, writing in a journal, or listening to calming music.
Open the Curtains
Your body’s internal clock is driven by light exposure, so while your nights should remain dark, the morning light can help you wake up feeling refreshed. To give yourself some stimulating morning light, open your blinds or curtains before going to bed to let the light in.
Alternatively, hop out of bed and head into another room, or even out onto your porch or balcony, where you can let the light in and signal to your brain that it’s time to be up and active.
Stick to Your Alarm
While working on getting on a better sleep schedule, waking up on time may prove challenging. The snooze button may make it feel like you’re getting extra, needed rest, but the quality of these shorter bursts of sleep don’t actually do much for your body–and can even make it harder to wake up when it’s really time to get out of bed.
As your body adjusts, it will become easier and easier to get out of bed in the mornings. For now, avoid pressing snooze and give your body a few minutes to get into the swing of the day.
Above all, stay true to your new schedule–even on the weekends. If you must adjust your schedule for events, try not to do so by more than an hour or two. The more consistent you are with your sleep schedule, the easier it will be to stick to it, and the more rested you will be overall.
A sleep schedule is extremely beneficial for people of all ages. It is one of the pillars of health along with exercise and nutritious food intake. Your shifts at work and other activities may disrupt your sleep schedule. Yet, it takes determination and dedication to really stick to your sleep schedule in order to get that good sleep hygiene and get back on track.
At Alaska Sleep Clinic, educating people about the importance of sleep is for their lives mentally, physically, and spiritually is important. Learn more about sleep hygiene by downloading the FREE e-book. Just click the link below.