Many would say bedtime is the best time of the day, but why is that? Whether it’s because we love the feeling of closing our eyes and drifting into a peaceful sleep; or because we have the most comfortable bed ever; or simply because we are just so exhausted from another long day of work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, packing lunches, the list goes on…we could all use a little bit more sleep. And, sometimes what we are really lacking is quality sleep throughout the night.
So how do we get better quality of sleep each night? Try out these 6 tips for better sleep and find out for yourself!
1. Manage Stress
If you find yourself ruminating over the drama from work, making mental to-do lists, or wondering what you forgot to pack in your child’s backpack while lying in bed, you’re not alone. We all have stress in our lives, and sometimes it can keep us lying awake at night sleepless.
Foster a healthy mind by managing stress. Try out a few mindfulness techniques throughout the day, or even at night. When you start to feel stressed, try focused breathing, mindfulness, meditation, or even yoga. These practices help reduce stress and foster healthy sleep at night.
2. Get More Active
Getting active and exercising for at least 30 minutes per day has been proven to increase sleep quality. Moving our bodies uses up energy, promoting better sleep at night. We all know what it’s like to lie wide awake at night wishing our energy and our thoughts would simmer. So go for a stroll with your family, hit the gym, or dance around with your little ones each day (just not too close to bedtime).
3. Turn Off the Lights (the Blue Lights, That Is)
One best practice for getting better quality sleep each night is to lower the lights before bed. This helps increase melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy, produced in our bodies. This includes blue lights.
So what is blue light? Blue light is known as high-energy visible light, and high-energy is what we’re trying to avoid at night. Blue light comes from the sun, fluorescent lights, electronic devices including our mobile phones, computers, TVs, and more. Exposure to blue light at night reduces the typical amount of melatonin produced in our bodies and keeps us awake. So, stop scrolling, turn off your TV, and lower the lights at night to get better sleep.
4. Keep a Routine
Our sleep cycles love routine. Keep your body on schedule by going to sleep around the same time each night, and waking up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends. Make sure that the schedule you build for your sleep cycle allots 7 to 8 hours for sleeping each night. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep consistently can add up in the long run, leaving you constantly exhausted and can even cause health issues.
5. Watch What You Eat
Avoid eating a big meal right before bed. Digestion can interrupt a good night’s sleep. A good rule of thumb is to eat no less than 3 hours before going to bed. If you get a little hungry before bed, opt in for a light and healthy snack. Snack on a few berries, grab a cheese stick, or munch on a couple of crackers to hold you over until the morning.
Consumption of caffeine can also disrupt sleep quality. Try limiting coffee, tea, and energy drinks to the morning, and avoid an afternoon pick-me-up. With good quality sleep coming your way, you’ll soon realize you don’t even need the afternoon caffeine. Push through!
6. Just Relax
This is easier said than done, but really should be a priority: relax before going to bed. After putting down the kids, cleaning up the house, and prepping for the next day, make time for yourself to unwind. This might look different for everyone.
What relaxes you? Reading a book with low lights and a candle? Taking a bath with soothing music? Whatever helps you wind down from a busy day, build that into your nightly routine about 30 minutes before going to bed. Our bodies are often so overstimulated from all the hustle and bustle, that they don’t realize when it’s time to rest.
Our brains and bodies are designed to set us up for good quality sleep. In the busy world we’ve created, getting the right amount and best quality of sleep depends on us. Foster these 6 good sleep habits and you’ll be sure to have more energy throughout the day, and your friends will be asking, “how does she do it?”
For more tips on getting better quality sleep, check out www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips.