Getting adequate sleep is one of, if not the most important things everyone can do to improve their overall health and quality of life. And who doesn’t like sleep! Sleep helps increase your immune system, reduces inflammation, promotes recovery from stress and exercise, helps prevent depression, and improves productivity and concentration. Sleep has even been shown to improve athletic performance, help regulate food intake by affecting hormones that are responsible for increasing satiety, and reduce the risk of weight gain. (You can’t eat when you’re sleeping!) Here are some simple action items to help you get a good night’s sleep!
- Stick to the same sleep schedule, even on the weekends. This helps with consistency but also your body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Get into a bedtime routine! Having the same routine each night helps your body know when it’s time to go to bed. For me, I brush my teeth, go into my room, pop some melatonin, and watch some tv on my Ipad. As soon as I feel tired I shut it down and go to bed!
- Avoid naps, especially later in the day. Naps are awesome, I know! But if you nap in the late afternoon or early evening it’s going to be harder to fall back asleep later on! If falling asleep at night is hard for you and you nap during the day, eliminate that nap.
- Avoid alcohol. It’s been proven time after time that you CANNOT get a good night’s sleep after drinking alcohol. Alcohol reduces REM sleep which is the most important for recovery and without it, the symptoms of sleep deprivation kick in.
- Don’t work late at night. As a small business owner, this was super important for me. My mind gets racing, I get into what I’m doing, and then I can’t shut it down and sleep properly. So, I do my best to avoid working after 7 pm so I can relax and recover for the following day.
- Get off your phone! Not only does the bright light affect sleep but that work email, text, or Facebook post that triggers you can elevate your heart rate and make falling asleep much more difficult. Plus, when you’re not on your phone you’re more present with family and friends.
Follow the steps above and you’re sure to get a better night’s sleep which in turn will make you healthier, happier, and stronger!