January is here and there is no better time to start building in better habits! There are only a couple of areas that are more impactful on your overall wellness than sleep!
We’ve all suffered through days of headache, fatigue and irritability after a bad night’s sleep for whatever reason. Sure, you can make up for it with a power nap or by sleeping it off the following night. But when insufficient sleep becomes the norm and you’re not getting anywhere from 7 – 9 hours of quality sleep each night, doctors warn that only a few weeks can pass before physical, emotional, and mental long-term, chronic illnesses start to take hold because of your unhealthy sleeping patterns.
The science behind this is that during sleep, our bodies secrete several hormones associated with body functions including, but not limited to, appetite control, metabolism and glucose conversion. When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, an imbalance of these hormones – and others – occurs.
When you wake up, do you immediately look forward to going back to bed? When the alarm goes off does it seem as though you just closed your eyes? It’s time to get a good night sleep! After all, it’s amazing what a restful night’s sleep can do for your body.
Battling chronic exhaustion will either force you to find ways to get more rest or it’ll bring on ill health. Naturally, you’ll want to develop an effective sleep routine before your body forces you to rest!
Try some of these sleep tips so you can get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling energized:
- Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Keep your bedroom neat and quiet so you feel calm upon entering. Your bedroom needs to be a getaway from the stress of the day. When a TV is on, even if you aren’t watching it, the light output feels almost as great as the sun. This confuses your body and makes it hard to “shut down” even after you’ve turned off the screen.
- If you have a TV or a home office in your bedroom, it will interfere with your ability to go to sleep. Move the television out of the bedroom or at the very least, try placing a sheet over it so you’re not tempted to watch it before bed.
- Keep your room dark. Your body is designed to sleep when it’s dark. If you’re not used to this, try it for a while anyway. Children are used to sleeping with a light on but you’ll soon realize that it’s a huge distraction in getting to sleep. Pull the curtains closed, turn off all the lights, shut your door, then sleep like you’re hibernating!
- Many stores sell “blackout” curtains that block out the sunlight so the room remains dark. Consider using these curtains to fully darken the room. I swear by mine as I have noticed a huge difference in how long I stay asleep and the sleep is much deeper!
- Exercise during the day. Exercising during the day releases stress hormones to help you feel more relaxed. Most forms of exercise will pep you up and give you more energy immediately afterwards so make sure you exercise well ahead of bedtime.
- The energy you receive from daytime exercise will give you more restful nights because your body will be less stressed and more relaxed. You’ll be giving your body a total makeover!
- Even though yoga is considered relaxing, it may keep you awake if done in the evening hours. Plan your exercise routine either in the morning or late afternoon.
- Make yourself a bedtime routine. This doesn’t only work with kids. If you get in the habit of going to bed at a certain time, your body will expect to be sleeping. Some recommend milk right before bed, as it contains the sleep-inducing chemical tryptophan.
- Create a bedtime routine that involves things that make you tired, such as soft music, a warm shower, light reading material, or journaling.
- Television stimulates the mind too much, which can cause difficulty sleeping. Try recording your favorite nighttime TV shows to watch the next day, rather than staying up late.
- Leave daytime stress outside. In order to rest, you’ll want to put aside things that keep your mind whirling. By keeping a calendar of things to do the next day, you can put your mind to rest.
- Make sure you’ve dealt with all the questions that keep you awake – what bills need to be paid, what time the doctor appointment is, and so on, before you lay down. This frees you up for sleep.
Once you’ve learned to rest well at night, you’ll experience a huge improvement in your quality of life. No more yawning through the mornings and the groggy, grumpy you will be replaced with an energetic person ready to take on life.
So, what are you waiting for? The new year is here, the weather is made for snuggling, and the nights are longer. It is a perfect time to start a relaxing bedtime routine tonight and wake up feeling refreshed tomorrow!