Sleep deprivation can lead to many health issues such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, anxiety, decreased stress tolerance, poor cognitive function, mood issues, immune issues, and more! To feel your best, it’s vital to get proper sleep. Try these tips to make it happen.
Make Sleep a Priority - it is best to get 7-9 hours of sleep at night and to get to bed by 10pm (stay with our circadian rhythm cycles). So, whatever time you need to get up in the morning, back it out and get to bed so you can actually get your hours in.
Control Light Exposure - light is one of the primary ways our body determines sleep/wake cycles (circadian rhythm), controlling this light exposure is a great way to regulate sleep.
To control light at night try the following:
Dim, cover or remove anything that emits light in your bedroom
Install blackout shades to make it as dark as possible
Avoid or minimize the use of computers, TVs, phones, etc. 2-3 hours before bedtime.
You can install apps like F.lux to reduce blue light exposure.
Get more natural light exposure during the day.
It might seem surprising that actions you take early in the day—especially something as seemingly simple as taking some time in the morning sun could effect your sleep so many hours later....but it is best to get morning sunlight or at least the early part of the day. Get out for an early morning walk - it will improve your alertness and energy for the day and falling asleep at night.
Create a Sleep Environment You Love
Get the right pillows, mattress and bed coverings this makes a huge difference in sleep quality.
Get the right temperature - most people sleep best in a cool room.
Reduce noise or get a fan or noise machine to block out unnecessary sounds that may keep you awake.
Cut Out Caffeine and Alcohol
Both of these affect your sleep patterns, so if you are having trouble sleeping taking them out for a bit might be just what you need. Caffeine can be reduced slowly, going cold turkey on this can be tough.
Get Some Exercise
It is important to get some physical activity. It today’s modern world, we sit way too much, get up and move!
Dial in your Nutrition
Everyone is different here, but make sure you are not eating a low carb or low fat diet, this can affect your sleep patterns.
Also, if you are prone to waking in the night, this may be due to a drop in blood sugar, eating a small snack before bed may help with this (please read next tip, and realize that blood sugar dropping in the night may happen, but overtime this is not a good thing and should be addressed).
Finally, it is best to not eat too close to bedtime. As your body is going in to a parasympathetic state letting your body rest and recover, which is why we need the sleep.
Manage Your Stress
It is important to get in a parasympathetic state before bed. Some things that may help are deep breathing, using the Calm app, taking a warm bath, writing down whatever is on your mind before bed so you can stop thinking about it.
Find what works for you!
Chronic sleep deprivation can seem normal in today’s society, but it is far from normal to our bodies.
I hope these steps help you or someone you know get better quality sleep.