Healthy sleep is a major cornerstone for an energetic, joyful, healthy life. Sleeping better is one of the simplest and most powerful things you can do to improve your health as it plays a key role in rejuvenating the cells in your body and helps wash away toxins that build up during the day.
High-quality, restorative sleep carries several additional life-giving benefits, including:
• Improves brain function
• Faster muscle recovery
• Increases fat burning
• Boosts longevity
• Balances your hormones
• Protects your heart
Not getting enough sleep or poor-quality sleep adversely affects hormones that make you hungry and store extra weight. This lack of sleep also creates blood sugar imbalances that increase the risk of pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and poor immune function.
VALUE YOUR SLEEP AS MUCH YOU DO YOUR DIET AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
When you become aware of your sleep and its importance, you’re more prepared to be able to optimize it.
MAINTAIN A REGULAR SLEEP SCHEDULE
Training ourselves to sleep along with our natural circadian rhythms will lead to better overall health and performance. Make it a goal to go to bed at the same time every night and a great reminder is to set a bedtime alarm in evening to start a wind down routine.
CREATE A TECHNOLOGY-FREE BEDROOM
We live in an age where phones, laptops, and TVs have become the norm. Creating a “digital sunset” with all technology off a minimum of an hour before bedtime will set the stage for a great night’s sleep. It provides a much needed break from the high-intensity blue light emitted from electronic devices and will leave you more rested in the morning.
CREATE A SOOTHING NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
A warm bath, an evening meditation, a prayer time, some relaxing stretches or journaling a few things we’re grateful for are all examples of ways to create a soothing bedtime routine. Experiment with your own favorites and you’ll set the stage for your body and mind to unwind.
20-30 minutes of daily activity, even if it’s light, can prepare you for a good night’s rest. Just don’t exercise too late as doing so can make it more difficult to fall asleep. A good rule of thumb is not to do heavy exercise 4 hours prior to bedtime.
AVOID GOING TO BED WITH A FULL STOMACH
Do not eat heavy meals or drink alcohol within 2 -3 hours of going to bed. These factors affect resting heart rate and thus are a good way to push our sleep cycle out of whack.
CUT CAFFEINE AFTER MIDDAY
Experts have proven that the effects of a late afternoon cup of coffee or caffeinated tea can last much longer than perceived. Avoid caffeine after 2pm to prevent any interruptive sleep.
EXPERIMENT WITH NATURAL SLEEP AIDS
What helps certain people sleep better than others are as different as our personalities. From new pillows and mattresses to white-noise machines and essential oils, read up on the benefits of these tools and choose those seem to be a good fit.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Keep your room cool and dark by shutting off any light sources, including the glow from electronics and using curtains to block external light. If possible maintain a cool temperature for getting your best night’s sleep.
Well here’s to exploring a few changes to your routine and getting a fantastic night’s sleep!