Getting a good night’s sleep is more crucial to your health than anything else that you can do for your body. Lack of sleep is associated with a high amount of health problems and if you’re not getting seven to eight hours a night you might be at risk.
Sleep deprivation can affect the body’s ability to fight infections and it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. There are steps that you can take starting today to significantly improve your quality of sleep and change your current sleep habits.
Get Natural Sunlight 30 Minutes A Day
Get at least 30 minutes a day of natural sunlight when weather permits. A lot of people work from home nowadays and getting natural sunlight has become non-existent or drastically reduced. Set up a recurring alarm on your iPhone to alert you to the time when the sun is at its peak within your time zone.
Vitamin D is also a good supplement source during winter months. Begin waking up at sunrise or use timers for your bedroom lamps to wake you up in the morning. You want to use bright lights in the morning in order to start regulating your sleep pattern.
Exercise 20-30 Minutes Daily
Make sure that you get at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis. This exercise does not need to involve you joining a gym or fitness spa. You only want to start to get your body moving. Try walking up and down the stairs in your home or the stairwell of your office building several times.
Better yet, take a walk outside for that amount of time; then you’re getting the sunlight and the exercise combined. It’s important to be sure that you do not exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
Do not partake in any alcoholic beverages prior to bedtime. Alcohol actually disrupts sleep and reduces the deep rest that the body needs to recover. You want to leave at least four hours between the time of your last alcoholic beverage and the time you go to bed. Eliminate smoking any type of tobacco product completely. Nicotine also disrupts your sleep pattern.
No Large Meal Before Bedtime
Never eat a large meal or large amounts of any beverage before bedtime. If you’re one of those people that get up several times throughout the night to go to the bathroom, then you know it can be difficult at times to get back to sleep. It is perfectly fine to have a light snack or cup of tea just before bedtime and it can actually help reduce your stress level to help you fall asleep. The snack should not be anything sugary; like fruits, cookies or ice cream. Think of a healthy snack.
Nap 30 Minutes Or Less
Limit any daytime nap to no more than 30 minutes and never after 3 p.m. If you nap for an extended time you will increase the probability of not being able to sleep at night. If you’re the type of person that plans a mid-day nap, then be sure to set a timer to wake you up within 30 minutes.
It is preferable that you do not take a nap at all if you’re already having issues with sleeping through the night. Regulating your sleep patterns will help with that issue; not taking a nap throughout the day.
Keep Regular Sleep Schedule
Be sure to stick to a consistent sleep schedule which includes your days off and on the weekends. Keeping a regular sleep schedule sets the internal clock for your body. The body begins to depend on that time once it identifies a repeated schedule and the body will accommodate you. When you wake up in the morning get up within 5-10 minutes. Don’t lie in the bed for hours, and never stay in the bed all day unless you’re sick.
Avoid Caffeine After 3 p.m
You want to avoid all caffeine after 3 p.m. or earlier if possible. The earlier the better. Make sure that you check the content labels of all beverages consumed after this time. You might be surprised to find caffeine in a beverage you’ve never even considered. Orange soda and flavored waters can be highly-suspect for containing caffeine which should be completely avoided. There is actually even a small amount of caffeine within decaffeinated coffee.
Relax Before Bedtime
Try creating a relaxing and comforting routine prior to bedtime. Read a book; listen to relaxing music, meditate or practice deep breathing exercises. They all will put you in a calm state and reduce your stress levels.
Google Play has a great selection of relaxing music apps; some with exotic places of paradise or beaches with waves and bird sounds in the background. Type in “relaxing music” within the search field and you will get all the content you will ever need. Get creative and find whatever method works for you to become more relaxed.
Use Quality Bedding
Check your bedding and make sure everything is good quality. Your mattress should be as comfortable as you need it to be. This is one area where spending your money for good quality is worth every penny.
If you haven’t replaced your pillow within the last two years, then you should do it today. You might not be sleeping alone and that does not just include your bed partner. Your pillow should be something that feels perfectly comfortable to you to help fall asleep. It should not be something that you have to struggle with to find comfort. Purchase a new pillow if the one you have is not a good comfort level.
Create Electronic-Free Bedroom
Create a bedroom space that is completely free of all electronic devices. You want the bedroom to be an electronic-free zone which might take getting used to. However, electronics stimulate the brain and that is the worst type of activity for your brain when it is trying to help you fall asleep. You’re delaying the time it will take to fall asleep. Ideally, you want to fall asleep within 10-15 minutes of your head hitting the pillow. Remove the television from the bedroom also.
Using these tips will help you get a much better night’s sleep. You will start to feel more energetic and actually increase your mood as a result. You will also start to look forward to bedtime more often since you’re not stressing about whether or not you will get a good night’s rest. Most importantly, you will start to improve your health. Sleep is an incredible benefit to your body and once you’ve implemented these methods you’ll notice an enormous improvement in your quality level of sleep.