Nowadays, a good night’s rest often seems like a luxury few can afford. With never ending to-do lists, bright light exposure, and high stress environments, trying to get those prime 8-9 hours of sleep seems like a daunting task. But your sleep could be one of your most important assets to protect.
Her are some amazing benefits that come from sleep:
- Improved cognitive function and ability to learn and memorize new material
- Regulates appetite, blood insulin levels, and hunger and fullness hormones
- Aids in athletic performance and promotes better recovery
Here are some tips to create effective sleep habits:
- Create a sleep schedule: go to bed at around the same time and wake up at the same time everyday – including weekends. This is important for your body’s circadian rhythm.
- Be careful not to consume caffeine too late in the day
- If you find that you can’t fall asleep because your mind is racing with the events of the day or the thoughts for tomorrow, keep a journal by your bedside and do a “brain dump” of all of your thoughts before going to bed
- Meditate or stretch (or both!) to relax the mind and the body
- Take a hot shower or bath: this raises your core temperature, and your body cooling itself down signals that it is time to sleep
- Keep your room dark, cool, and free of gadgets. The large amount of light exposure in the evenings from street lights and televisions disrupts our natural circadian rhythms. Try to limit screen time before bed, and hang curtains or blinds to block the extra light from outside. If possible, charge your phone in another room so that you aren’t tempted to look at it before bed, and you will have the added bonus of not being tempted to look at your phone first thing the following morning as well.
Enjoy experimenting with these ideas to see which ones help you get those hours of shut eye in. Creating a ritual for sleep could make the unwinding of the day something you enjoy and look forward to!
~Katie Conn, Wellness Coach