Your mood, productivity, emotional balance and even weight depends on a good night’s sleep. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function, so it’s important for us to get well rested. Here are some tips and tricks to help you sleep better:
- Stick to a sleep schedule
Studies have shown that those with irregular sleep patterns tend to feel more tired than those who have a sleep schedule, so if you look forward to going to bed late on the weekends you need to change that habit. Try to create a pattern of going to bed and waking up at the same hours every day and you will notice a big improvement in the way you are feeling the next day.
- Control your exposure to light
The human body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm (amazing, right?). The way it works is that when you are exposed to light that helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy, your body feels energized and awake, and when it’s dark, more melatonin is released in your body which makes you feel sleepy. Therefore, it is important to maximize exposure to light during the day, in order to keep your natural clock ticking,
- Exercise daily
Exercising is not only for losing weight and getting that “summer body” ready, but it can also help with sleeping issues. Research has shown that the more you exercise, the less you will suffer from insomnia and sleep apnea. It also increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. You can opt for a vigorous workout 4 or 5 hour before bed, or you can choose Yoga or Pilates right before you go to sleep.
- Don’t Eat Late in the Evening
Eating heavy foods or big meals before bed overloads your digestive system, which will affect the quality of your sleep. Finish eating at least 2 hours before bed, and if you still feel hungry opt for a healthy snack 45 minutes before bed.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
A relaxing bed time routine will help you unwind and let your body know it’s time to sleep. Taking a warm bath or shower is a good way to relax. In one study, a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped participants get greater amounts of deep sleep. Reading a book is a calming activity which can be part of your bedtime ritual.
- Power Down
While exposure to light during the day is beneficial, it has the opposite effect during the night. The blue light emitted by electronic devices is the worst in this case. Try to avoid mobile phones, TV’s or computer screens before bed. If you are glued to your phone, there are certain apps you can download to block the blue light on your smartphone.