Sleep is more important to your mental health and overall wellbeing than you may think. Sleep is restorative, it helps us to function and plays a critical role in our immune system, metabolism, memory, learning and other vital brain and body functions. You don’t have to have sleep disorder to be negatively impacted by poor sleeping habits, lack of restful sleep can impact your stress level, mood and physical health. Here are 7 tips to help you improve your sleep:
Have a Consistent sleep schedule Your sleep cycle works best when there's a routine. Going to bed each night and waking up each morning at the same time, even on weekends, helps regulate your body’s clock. Disclaimer: Do this within reason. if you aren’t tired don’t try to force sleep, and if your body is saying you need more rest listen to it! I recommend trying to stick within 30-60 minutes of your sleep goals.
Create a Bedtime Ritual Our bodies need to wind down. We are constantly on the go, so you may find that when you try to go to bed after a long day that your mind is still busy. Help your mind and body transition by having a bedtime ritual that promotes relaxation. I recommend things like listening to soft music, reading, meditation and other calming strategies.
Avoid Screen Time Watching TV or spending time on your phone or tablet doesn’t count as relaxing! Many studies show that the bright lights are stimulating and will negatively impact your sleep.
Evaluate your Sleep Environment Make sure your bedroom is a sanctuary that feels peaceful. Ensure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows. Your bedroom should also be dark and quiet, consider things like eye shades, blackout curtains, ear plugs and sound machines to address any disruptions.
Exercise Regularly If you aren’t using up your energy during the day it makes sense that you might struggle to fall asleep. Exercising will help to fatigue your body so its ready to rest. Exercise can be energizing thought, so don’t do it too late at night or it may keep you up.
Limit Caffeine If you aren’t sleeping great you may rely on that morning cup of coffee, but you may want to think twice about it. Caffeine intake can significantly impact your sleep, and its not just coffee consider limiting sodas, teas, chocolate and other sources of caffeine. I recommend avoiding any caffeinated beverages after 3 pm.
Avoid Napping Daytime naps mess with you sleep schedule and may impact your ability to fall asleep at nighttime. If you must nap keep it to 20-30 minutes