Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. This is because quality rest prepares your mind and body to deal with life’s daily challenges. And with National Sleep Awareness week taking place this month (March 8 to 15), now’s the perfect time to tweak your lifestyle in ways that relax both mind and body, which can help you get more, deeper sleep. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Stick to a schedule. The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is 7 to 8 hours. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Yes, even on weekends. In fact, try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Consistency reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Exercise during the day. Regular physical activity during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise (like a short walk around the block) is better than no activity.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime—all of these can affect the quality of your sleep.
- Use your bedroom for sleep only. Think about it—when you work from your bedroom, it can become harder to fall asleep because your brain thinks you’re in a place of work. Even when you can’t leave work in the office, you can keep it out of the bedroom.
- Ensure calm sleep surroundings. Peaceful spaces help relax your mind, which is important for restful sleep. And as the inner sanctum of your home, doesn’t your bedroom deserve to be as tranquil as you can make it? So opt for bedding that’s soft and comfortable, and make sure your room is quiet and dark.
- Reduce stress. Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bed. Try writing down your thoughts or meditating as you prepare to turn in for the night.
- Eliminate screen time before bed. The artificial blue light emitted by TVs, laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices can delay your body’s internal clock and make it harder to fall asleep. Although it may be difficult, try to stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Instead, try reading or listening to music to promote better sleep.
With the right amount of sleep, you think better, and you feel better. So try including these changes in your routine. It could make a big difference in your sleep—and your health. For more information on the importance of sleep, click here.