Sleep is a funny thing. We spend one-third of our lives asleep, but most of us don’t understand the importance of sleep to our health and well-being.
Sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, depression, memory lapses and weight gain. In fact, according to research, people who don’t get enough sleep at night have a higher risk for strokes than those who get eight hours or more. Unfortunately, it’s easy to become so caught up in the rat race of life that we neglect sleep altogether. But there are many different methods you can use to fix your sleeping schedule today, from natural supplements like CBD products to forming good habits through consistent routines. Here are 11 tips on how you can start sleeping better right now.
Eleven Essentials for a Better Sleep Schedule
1) Keep a consistent bedtime – Going to bed at the same time every night is key to having a well-managed sleep schedule. This doesn’t have to be an exact time, like 10:30. Windows work as well. Aim for a 30- or 45-minute window and keep it constant to see the best results.
2) Keep a consistent wake-up time – Waking up at the same time every day is just as important as going to sleep at the same time. This kind of routine signals your body that it should be awake and prepares it for another productive day. This will help avoid any lapses in circadian rhythms, which, according to research, can disrupt vital metabolic processes and have long-lasting negative impacts on overall health.
3) Get comfortable – Make sure that your bedroom is equipped with the proper lighting (avoid bright LED lights), temperature (around 65 degrees Fahrenheit) and a quality mattress to make you feel comfortable enough to fall asleep easily. Also, invest in pillows and sheets that make you feel relaxed and comfortable. The more inviting and comfortable your bedroom is, the more time you’ll want to spend there.
4) Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed – Both of these substances can keep you from falling asleep quickly and from staying asleep once you get there. Caffeine can be found in many different foods and drinks, so be mindful of how much you’re consuming throughout the day. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep cycle and leave you feeling tired the following day.
5) Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed – Screens emit blue light, which can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin. This is the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. If you need to finish some work or respond to a text, try doing so an hour or two before bedtime. Suppose you can’t avoid using your phone, tablet or laptop before bed. In that case, you may be able to block blue light emission from the device by tinkering with the settings.
6) Exercise during the day – Regular exercise will do wonders for helping your sleep schedule. However, you shouldn’t work out right before bed. Instead, aim to complete any workouts between three and six hours before calling it a night. Exercising helps relieve stress by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins which help you fall asleep faster if they’re given a chance to work their magic. Too close to bedtime, however, and they may actually keep you awake.
7) Get plenty of sunlight each day – Being exposed to sunlight in the morning can help regulate your sleep schedule for the rest of the day. This is because it triggers a response in your body that reduces melatonin levels. Sunlight is also crucial for vitamin D production, essential for keeping bones and muscles healthy.
8) Use natural supplements – There are many different types of natural supplements that have been shown to improve sleep quality. These include magnesium, lavender oil and CBD products like CBD tinctures or capsules. Using natural products versus prescription or over-the-counter medications can be more holistic and safer. In addition, they are generally not habit-forming and do not have the same list of potential side effects.
9) Avoid eating big meals before bed – Eating a large meal before bedtime can cause discomfort and interrupt your sleep cycle. This is because your body will be working hard to digest the food instead of resting and rejuvenating. Try to finish up your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime. If you find you’re hungry, it’s best to reach for easily digestible foods like berries, applesauce, toast, yogurt or eggs. Avoid anything with caffeine or sugar, like chocolate or ice cream.
10) Create a relaxing bedtime routine – Doing things like reading, taking a bath or listening to calming music can help relax your body and mind for sleep. Different people will have different routines or ways to unwind. You must find what works for you and stick to it so your body can form a habit or expectation. Remember, consistency is vital with any routine.
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11) Manage stress levels – According to the Sleep Foundation, one of the leading causes of insomnia is stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, try implementing some stress-relieving tactics like yoga or meditation into your daily routine. Leaving stress unaddressed will only further damage your sleep schedule. It will make it harder for your body and mind to relax at night. Then, the cycle of more bouts of insomnia will continue. In some cases, folks need help from a mental health professional to develop solid strategies. There’s no shame in recognizing and asking for this help. Life is stressful! None of us can do everything on our own.
You can start sleeping better and feeling more rested today by following these tips. Everyone’s sleep schedule is different, so find what works best for you and stick to it. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to get the sleep you need and feel your best.
Do you have any other tips for how best to fix a sleep schedule? Drop your ideas in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!