As we are into the warmer months, our days become longer and much more eventful. Because more than 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, it’s important to makes adjustments in lifestyle choices now to help remedy sleep issues and wake up feeling refreshed everyday!
Here are some tips for all of us to follow to achieve more ZZZ’s!
1. Reclaim the bed for its intended purpose: Sleep!
Avoid eating, watching TV or using electronics in bed. It’s been scientifically proven that the light from TV and computer screens affects melatonin production and throws off circadian rhythms. Make the bedroom like a sanctuary for sleeping by keeping the room cooler, very dark and quiet.
2. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
Going to bed and waking within 20 minutes of the same time every day (even on weekends!) helps the body maintain regular sleep cycles. I am guilty of getting my sleep patterns out of wack on the weekends!
3. Exercise outdoors, but not late in the evening.
Fresh air during the day can help you fall asleep at night, but exercising within a couple of hours of bedtime raises body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep soundly. Set your workout for early morning or afternoon, and you’ll be more tired at bedtime. I know my adrenaline keeps me going a few hours after a workout!
4. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual, like taking a soothing bath or even yoga.
It’s important to unwind before getting into bed. A study in Sleep, the Journal of the American Sleep Disorders Association, suggests taking a warm bath 60-90 minutes before bedtime. The hot water raises body temperature, and cool air in the bedroom lowers skin temperature, which triggers your body to produce melatonin and become drowsy. I sleep with the AC set to a chilly 72F and pile on three blankets to intensify this theory!
5. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sleep medications.
Even if you think they are helping you fall asleep initially, alcohol and medicines that make you drowsy may affect your sleep throughout the night. Alcohol makes me.. well.. visit the little girls room often. So if you are like me with a bladder the size of a pea, avoid diuretic types of drinks close to bedtime. It gets annoying walking blindly to the potty at night.
Any other tips or tricks you’d like to share for getting a good nights rest?!