On average, we spend about one third of our lives sleeping. These days, people are sleeping less and less. Due to our busy schedules and racing minds, we often slack on sleep. The importance of getting adequate sleep (the exact number of hours is different for everyone) is often overlooked, despite the total-body benefits.
When you hit the hay, your body has the opportunity to rebuild and repair itself. After a long, challenging workout, sleep is exactly what you should reward your body with! It’s especially important to log extra hours on your pillow after a tough workout or while training for a race or competition, when your body is working overtime.
A lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can lead to decreased concentration and productivity in the day to follow, increased appetite and weight gain, increased risk for diabetes, and of course, those dreaded under eye circles.
Follow these nine tips on logging better sleep and feel more energized and refreshed starting tomorrow!
We are all creatures of habit. Set a simple bedtime routine for yourself that can be done any day of the week. For example, turn off the TV and make a cup of hot water or decaffeinated tea prior to washing your face and snuggling up with a book or stretching. Whatever you find relaxing, make time for it for at least 10 minutes before you close your eyes for the night. Anticipating this calm structure at the end of your night will help you fall asleep with ease.
Write it down.
Some days are busier than others, and even if you follow your established bedtime routine, your mind can still wander at times to your ever growing to-do list. Instead of lying in bed trying to remember everything on your plate or replaying any worries you may have, write them down. Keep a journal near your bedside and jot down whatever thoughts are racing through your mind at bedtime. Clearing your head will allow you to release anxiety and sleep well.
Exercising daily helps release stress and extra energy. Get your sweat on at least an hour and a half before bed time to allow your body to calm back down. Regular exercise is shown to help relieve stress and help with insomnia.
Play catch up.
If you’ve slacked on your sleep for a few nights (i.e. had a bit too much fun this weekend), play catch up by catching an extra hour tonight. Don’t use that lack of sleep as an excuse to snooze until the afternoon, as you may end up feeling drowsy and sluggish for the rest of the day.
Ten minutes before bed, when it’s time to begin the bedroom routine you established in our number one tip, power down all electronics. The harsh lights and constant sound can be overwhelming to our brains. Allow yourself to find comfort in the silence with a few moments away from the TV, computer, phone, iPod, Kindle, etc. At a loss for what to do? Read a book, play with the dog, take a walk, stretch, or journal.
Keep it cool and calming.
Keeping your bedroom at a cooler temperature is ideal for sound sleep. Aim for somewhere between 60 and 75 degrees to avoid night sweats and stay comfortable all night long. While you may not be able to splurge on the perfect mattress, affordable mattress pads provide support and comfort throughout the night. For a peaceful aroma that can help you fall asleep faster, use lavender or vanilla scented room spray or candles. Other accessories like blackout curtains and white noise machines or fans can help minimize light and sound interruptions, letting you sleep soundly all night.
Sip on something soothing.
Prepare some warm milk, chamomile tea, or hot water with lemon to unwind your mind, calm your body and mind, and help induce heavier eye lids!
Establish a wake up time.
Waking up at the same time each morning (even on the weekends!) compliments your bedtime routine perfectly, keeping your sleep hours regular and routine. When it comes to sleep, keep it organized rather than scattered and chaotic.
Let the fresh air in.
If the outdoor temperature allows, open a window and allow the fresh air to move through your bedroom. The smells and sounds of the outdoors create a natural and perfectly serene bedtime setting. Too hot or cold to keep the windows open? Head outside an hour before your bedtime routine for a slow stroll. Breathing the fresh air and getting some physical activity in will help prepare you for a good night’s sleep.
Okay, that’s it! Now follow these nine tips and wake up feeling rested and ready to rock your day tomorrow morning!