Getting enough quality sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining a mentally and physically healthy life. Unfortunately that is much easier said than done in most of our daily lives. Some people may struggle with this due to a busy life style, and others may because of an underlying condition such as insomnia. Here are a few quick tips to help improve sleep and your quality of life:
Make sleep a priority: while our crazy busy lives make it difficult to prioritize something as time consuming as sleep, it is a must for a healthy and successful life. Set a firm time to turn off everything and start your night time routine. Of course there will be days that we must make exceptions, but being consistent when we can will help improve the ease with which you are able to sleep.
Create a healthy environment: remove excess stimulus from the bedroom such as electronics, make sure you bed is comfortable, use the bed strictly for sleep and intimacy, keep the temperature comfortable, put the phone down and don’t bring it into the bedroom, decorate with soothing colors, keep sleeping area clean, or make any changes that will make your sleep environment more comfortable for you and easier for you to sleep in.
Have a consistent wake up time: sleep is all about patterns. Our body has a natural circadian rhythm and when we mess that up we start having sleep difficulties. Excessively sleeping in can make us less tired at night, leading to us staying up later, leading to less sleep and starting a negative cycle of unhealthy sleep patterns and routines.
Don’t nap: sleeping during the day reduces the need for sleep at night and interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can cause you to be more restless at night, stay up later at night, and just have trouble falling asleep in general.
Avoid substances: caffeine and alcohol alike, stimulate hormones and brain activity that reduces the quality of your sleep.
Maintain your medical health: the obvious medical concerns that can negatively impact your sleep are: sleep apnea, thyroid issues, or diabetes; however, there are a number of lesser known medical problems that you could be why you are struggling to sleep, which is why it is always important to see a doctor and get an exam.
Eat a well balanced diet: the healthier you are the healthier you sleep. One of the first and most beneficial steps towards this is eating a well balanced diet. Feel free to check out any of the articles by our dietitian to learn more about this.
Minimize stress: managing mental health and stress is absolutely vital to keeping healthy and getting sleep. Often times we lay down to sleep and our mind races, keeping us from catching those precious moments of sleep. Minimizing your stress or learning to cope with it more effectively will help reduce its impact on your sleep.
Make changes early: don’t wait until you are so exhausted you cannot make changes or develop full blown insomnia. Address sleep difficulties early and quickly, making the changes you can before you no longer feel like they will work and never be afraid to seek help when needed.