For people who know me, I may seem like the most unqualified person to give you tips about better sleep. But as your resident insomniac, I truly am always looking for ways to improve my sleep schedule and build myself a healthier lifestyle. So with that being said, here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to finally get your sleep health in order.
While this may sound like a given, for someone who has always had a less than ideal sleep schedule this was the hardest thing for me to accomplish. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, will not only improve the quality of your sleep but the quantity as well. Your brain works off a 24hr clock and it not only expects regularity when it comes to sleep but thrives off of it as well.
- Skip that afternoon coffee
I feel slightly hypocritical telling you all to forgo that 4 pm iced coffee because as a caffeine addict myself, I know how hard it can be to quit cold-turkey. So start slow and day by day try to start cutting down your caffeine intake in the late afternoon and evenings. I myself have an alarm set for 4 pm every day to act as a little reminder to relax on the coffee. While it may seem harmless, the effects of caffeine can continue on hours after you initially have it. Meaning that while you may be able to fall asleep, the caffeine in your system could be adversely affecting your sleep stages at night without you even knowing it.
- Walk it out
When you find yourself sitting awake in bed focusing on the fact you haven’t fallen asleep yet, literally get out of bed and walk around. Your brain is incredibly associative, so if you have made a connection that your bed is linked with staying awake, you need to break this cycle by getting up, doing something different, and only returning to your bed once you feel sleepy.
- Turn off your lights
Now obviously I would assume that most of us turn off our main lights in our rooms when we are going to sleep. But it is so important to make sure that we are turning off our phones, tvs, computers, or anything else you may have in your room that could negatively affect your sleep. By experiencing more darkness in the evening we are able to trigger the release of melatonin that helps regulate the timing and health of our sleep.
- Develop a Routine
Sadly, for a lot of us, it is not as easy as just diving into bed and falling asleep. By creating and sticking to a set nighttime routine every day, your brain will start to recognize that routine as a precursor to sleep. So develop a routine that works for you, for at least 20 minutes to an hour before you head to bed.
It absolutely takes time and effort to improve your sleep health but I promise your mind and body will thank you for it!