Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is scientifically proven to be a game changer for your health, mood and sense of well-being. Anyone who has ever struggled to fall asleep or found themselves wide awake at 3 am knows that sleeping soundly isn’t always as easy as it seems.
The good news is that most things that disrupt your sleep cycle are things that you can control or change. Whether it’s cutting out afternoon coffee or evening alcohol, eating lighter dinners at an earlier hour or turning off all devices at least one hour before bed, adjusting your daily habits has a huge impact on how your body eases into rest.
Here are 5 tips to help you set up for sleep success!
Blue light from a variety of devices suppresses your body’s melatonin production, the hormone that alerts your body that it’s time to sleep. Over time, this can affect your body’s internal clock and throw your sleep schedule off. Try turning off all devices at least 1-2 hours before you go to bed. Choose to read, listen to music, take a shower or bath or do some light stretching or yoga instead.
Eating heavy, late dinners can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, as your body works double time to digest your food. Try switching to an earlier dinner time and choose lighter, easier to digest meals in the evening. If you find you still get hungry before bed, choose a light snack to eat an hour before bedtime that won’t disrupt your body’s ability to sleep.
Avoid Alcohol & Caffeine
While that late afternoon coffee run and after dinner glass of wine might feel good in the moment, both can have a major impact on how well you fall and stay asleep each night. It’s best to avoid caffeine as you get closer to evening time, and regular alcohol consumption before bed will disrupt the quality of your sleep. If you find you need an afternoon pick me up, try heading out for a brisk walk or grabbing a light snack to keep your energy up. In the evenings, find other ways to wind down, like listening to music, taking a hot bath or downloading a mindfulness and meditation app.
Set the Mood
If your body is out of the habit of a regular sleep routine, it may take some retraining to help it get there. Set the mood for sleep each night by taking a hot shower or bath, then cozying up with a 10 minute meditation or mindfulness practice. Switch out old pillows or bedding that no longer feel comfortable, and consider spraying them with a light lavender oil spray. Invest in a white noise machine to block out noises and read or relax quietly as your body falls asleep.
Stay on Schedule
One of the best ways to develop consistent sleep patterns is to set and stay on a schedule. Go to bed at around the same time every night and wake up around the same time each morning. Over time, this trains your body’s internal clock to recognize when it’s time to sleep and wake, and gets you set up for regular rest and good nights of sleep.