According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 3 Americans do not get enough sleep. The factors that go into this statistic may vary widely, but the bottom line is, Americans need more sleep. The recommended 7 to 9 hours is a guideline for the average adult in order to maintain peak performance physically and mentally. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, it may be time to re-evaluate your bedtime habits so you can get some quality sleep.
Here are the four healthiest bedtime habits you can practice to get optimal sleep:
Create regular bedtime rituals
It’s important to transition from wake time to sleep time seamlessly for good sleep. By establishing a good routine to prepare for bed, you’re training your brain to be ready for sleep sooner. For example, taking a bath promotes the rise and then fall of body temperature, which in turn makes you drowsy. On top of this, avoiding stimulating activity before bedtime lets your mind relax, so when your head hits the pillow you aren’t tossing and turning as long.
Lighten up on late night meals
Eating something heavy, like pizza, at 10pm can seriously hinder your sleep. Finishing your meal several hours before bedtime and avoiding foods that cause indigestion can go a long way in preparing your body for sleep. If your body is processing something heavy, greasy and acidic, it may take longer for your digestive system to settle down- causing discomfort. If you get a serious snack craving, try something light that you know doesn’t upset your stomach or make you feel heavy.
Getting the appropriate amount of exercise is important, but exercising at the right time is important too. When you’re active, it stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone, cortisol. This keeps you alert and active; and its effects can stay for you for quite a time after. This is great, unless you’re wanting to go to sleep soon after. Opt for earlier exercise routines so that it doesn’t hinder your ability to fall asleep.
Turn your bedroom into the perfect sleep environment
This one may seem obvious, but these tips make take your bedroom to the next level of sleep comfort. A dark and cool environment promotes good sleep. Opting for blackout curtains or a sleep mask may help if you have a pesky streetlight shining in your window. Light tells your brain it’s time to wake up, so blocking that out is key. Additionally, keeping your bedroom limited to sleep or intimate time can eliminate stress associated with that room. Some people believe that leaving the TV or laptop out of the bedroom promotes a more relaxed environment. If you’re working in your bedroom, you’re going to associate that space with stress and never truly escape.
Try those tips so that you can go to sleep and feel rejuvenated and refreshed for the next day.