If there’s one thing that’s becoming universally recognized in the health and wellness world, it’s the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A lack of sleep can also affect your cognitive performance, impacting your brain function and making day-to-day tasks more difficult than they need to be. Getting a good night’s sleep is easy once you establish a set routine. Could your current routine (or lack thereof) be the reason you’re feeling sluggish in the morning?
Shana Lebowitz recently published an article for Livestrong on ways you may be sabotaging your sleep. Many of these involve problems establishing a proper routine before getting into bed. These problems can also involve dragging your work into the bedroom, which can keep your mind cluttered and restless when you actually do try to get some sleep.
1. Stop Working in Bed
Depending on the kind of work you do, it can be easy to fall into the routine of carrying your work into the bedroom. Lebowitz writes that “turning the sheets and pillows into a makeshift desk makes it harder to see the bed as a place for rest. And definitely put away the laptop, phone, and any other technological devices well before bedtime. The artificial light coming out of these gadgets can mess up the body’s natural sleep cycles."
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2. Turn Off Electronic Devices
Bright lights are another reason your sleep cycles may feel upset or interrupted, as Scientific American reported, the brightness from LCD screens could suppress your body's natural release of melatonin, which could in turn prevent you from falling asleep. To prevent this, make sure you’re off your tablets and smartphones well before you decide to hit the sack–at least an hour before lights out should be "electronics out".
3. Go to Bed Earlier
Another reason your sleep cycle may be off could be that you’re not getting to sleep early enough. Again, depending on your lifestyle this one could be the trickiest. The key is ensuring you’re giving yourself enough time throughout the night to get quality sleep. Seven to eight hours is usually enough. Lebowitz writes that it’s important to make this a habit and avoid working late into the night, as “consistently staying up ‘til sunrise may impair learning abilities and contribute to higher anxiety levels.” To avoid this, get into the routine of ensuring you’re giving yourself enough time to get those seven to eight hours of shut eye. By making this is a habit, your body will naturally get accustomed to falling asleep at a certain time.
4. Create a Sleep Routine
One of the more universal truths about developing proper sleep habits is the development and maintenance of a proper routine. Sleep doctors typically suggest that establishing pre-sleep routines are crucial. This also involves maintaining that schedule seven days a week so your body is not forced to get re-accustomed to a schedule once the typical Monday to Friday workweek begins. Scheduling may seem like a lot of work, but it all pays off once your body gets used to it. You’ll be sleeping much better in no time.
5. Avoid Overstimulation
And, of course, do you all you can to avoid stimulants before bed time. Caffeine, alcohol, and even stressful situations, can all affect your body in a negative way and prevent you from getting relaxed enough to fall asleep. By avoiding these stimulants and getting into a proper routine, a good night’s sleep can be just around the corner.
Photo Credit: Alyssa L. Miller