We all know that getting a long night’s sleep is best for our health, but most people still aren’t getting the rest that they need. Lack of sleep can contribute to low energy levels, lack of focus, and a weakened immune system, all things that wear on the body and cause accidents, illnesses, diseases, and a poor quality of life. But lack of sleep doesn’t have to be your normal.
There are things you can do not only to get more sleep, but also to get better sleep. Making small lifestyle changes and adjustments to your daily routines can go a long way in getting you the sleep that you need and the overall health that you deserve. Follow these 5 tips to feel energized and restful when you wake up in the morning:
- Pay Attention to Your Body’s Sleep-Wake Cycle
It’s important to be in sync with your body’s circadian rhythm, as it will help you to feel more refreshed when you wake up in the morning. In order to achieve that rhythm, you should make every attempt to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Regulate your body’s internal clock by developing a bedtime routine, and once you are getting enough sleep, your body may even wake up naturally without an alarm. You should also avoid oversleeping, even on days where you don’t have to go into work, because it causes your body to experience a kind of “jet lag.” Similarly, limit long naps and try to aim for short, 15-20 power naps. Lastly, try to keep yourself awake for a few hours after eating dinner.
- Watch Your Exposure to Light
When you fall asleep in a lit bedroom or in a room with a bright TV screen, your body doesn’t secrete as much melatonin, a hormone that’s essential for regulating your sleep-wake cycle and making you feel sleepy. It’s a good idea to get plenty of bright sunlight in the morning and throughout the day, as well as allowing as much natural light into your daily workspace as possible. At night, you should avoid screen time during the 1-2 hours before you plan to fall asleep. Try reading a book instead of browsing your cell phone or watching TV. Make sure that your bedroom is very dark either by using blackout curtains or trying a sleep mask.
- Get More Exercise
It’s well known that those who exercise daily experience a better night’s sleep and feel more energized throughout the day. Try to aim for around 30 minutes a day, but even 10 minutes of walking can help you see some improvements. It’s important to try and complete your workouts at least 3 hours before you plan to go to bed.
- Improve Your Diet
How you eat throughout the day and in the evening plays a huge role in how well you sleep. You should limit your caffeine intake not only in the hours before ed, but also throughout the entire day. Caffeine can affect your sleep for up to 12 hours after you consume it. Avoiding eating a large, heavy dinner can also help you to sleep better. Similarly, limit alcoholic drinks or other liquids before bed. Reducing your intake of sugary foods and simple carbohydrates will help benefit your sleep as well as your overall health.
- Make Your Sleep Environment Comfortable
Don’t underestimate the power of a comfortable sleeping environment. When you develop a nice bedtime routine, you send a signal to you brain that it’s time to unwind and rest. Keep your sleep environment as quiet as possible, and if you experience a lot of unwanted sounds, try a white noise machine, a fan, or even earplugs. A cool environment is typically better for sleeping. Invest in a nice mattress, mattress topper, pillow, sheets, and comforter for optimal sleep comfort.