Sleep deprivation can negatively impact your health in several ways, from impairing your cognitive performance to making you more prone to accidents and injuries. Although it’s tempting to believe that you’ll be able to function well on fewer hours of sleep, in reality your body needs a set amount of time to feel rested. Follow these 10 tips to improve your sleep schedule and get a good night’s rest every night.
1) Plan your bedtime
It takes an average of ten minutes for your body temperature and heart rate to slow down after the end of your evening. So, keep this in mind when deciding how late you will stay up. If you are staying up later than 10pm on a regular basis, consider going to bed at 9:30pm. If that doesn’t work, consider going to bed earlier still. One way to do this is by getting into the habit of reading before bed. But be mindful not to use electronics before bed (this can stimulate brain activity).
2) Have a consistent sleep schedule
Try setting a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. If you sleep in on weekends, it can make it more difficult to get back into your normal sleeping pattern. Plus, when your body is tired from a lack of sleep, it can also make it more difficult to go through the day.
3) Exercise regularly
A lack of sleep can be seriously detrimental to your health, your well-being, and even your intelligence. Your brain needs adequate rest in order for it to function optimally. One of the best ways to get that rest is by exercising regularly. The more you work out, the more energy your body uses. When you are done working out, you will feel as though you slept better than if you had not worked out at all.
4) Don’t drink coffee after noon
The last thing you want before bed is caffeine. Drink it earlier in the day to keep your energy up during the workday, but avoid it after noon because it will make it hard for you to fall asleep when night falls. Don’t drink too much alcohol: Alcohol may help you relax and get drowsy, but that doesn’t mean you should drink too much of it. It can lead to poor sleep quality and cause nightmares or sleepwalking. Exercise: Studies show that people who exercise regularly are more likely to have better sleep patterns than those who don’t. Don’t nap: Napping at all can lead to poor quality of sleep at night, as well as insomnia and hypersomnia during the day-time hours.
5) Avoid caffeine before bed
Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime or less. The caffeine can stay in your system for up to six hours, so it’s best to avoid it during the evening. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which could make it more difficult for you to sleep at night.
6) Clear your mind before you go to sleep
The best time for meditation is usually the last hour before you go to sleep. This will clear your mind and help you get the most restful night’s sleep possible. Consider creating an evening routine that ends in a quiet space with some gentle music or white noise to make it easier for your body to release endorphins, which make you feel happy and sleepy.
7) Minimize distractions while you’re sleeping
-Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature
-Avoid stimulants such as caffeine after lunchtime
-Create an evening routine so you know what time you need to go to bed
-Don’t eat any heavy meals before bedtime
-Turn the screens off at least 30 minutes before bedtime
-Limit alcohol intake. After one or two drinks, try not to drink any more for the rest of the night.
8) Keep the temperature low in your bedroom
One of the best things you can do for your sleep schedule is to keep your bedroom cooler at night. Too much heat in a room will make you more likely to stay awake and increase the difficulty of falling asleep. Putting an extra blanket on top of your bed or lowering the temperature might be all you need to do!
9) Create an environment conducive to sleep
-Create a calming pre-sleep routine, such as reading and journaling for 20 minutes before bed.
-Create an evening wind down routine and start it at least 60 minutes before bedtime. This can include taking care of any last minute emails or tasks before the evening starts winding down.
-Avoid looking at screens one hour before bedtime. This includes your computer, phone, TV and tablet which all emit blue light that suppresses melatonin production.
10) Take vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health, but also provides benefits for the rest of the body. A major factor when you think about how much vitamin D your body needs is where you live. Someone who lives in Wisconsin, New York or Maine is unlikely to get enough vitamin (unless they go outside every day) since sunlight plays an important role in its production. If you’re not getting enough natural light, take a multivitamin with at least 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day!