Sleep better to live better with a few simple tweaks to your routine
If you’ve had a great night’s sleep, your morning coffee is a bonus, not a personality relocator. Trouble is, many Americans suffer from sleep deprivation – almost 50%, according to some studies. Even worse, long term sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues and, in some cases, early death.
Improving our sleep health begins with re-envisioning ourselves as brilliant, first-in-class sleepers. If you’re ready to sleep better (and live better) get ready to adopt these sleep-boosting attitudes from great sleepers.
10 habits of highly effective sleepers
1. Practice yoga (or meditation) in the evening
Yoga later in the day reduces pent up muscle stress and helps you begin the relaxation needed for sleep. If yoga’s new to you, start slow and don’t overstretch.
2. Give yourself permission
Understand that your work will never be done and that a good night’s sleep will help you be more productive and creative. Allow your mind to rest so you can start tomorrow strong.
3. Set an alarm for going to bed
What time do you want to wake up and how many hours do you want to sleep? Do the math and back it up to lights out time. If you need to be in bed early, skip the nap and forego coffee by 2 pm so you’ll be able to fall asleep earlier.
4. Add an hour for powering down
Start turning off all your screen devices an hour before you hope to fall asleep. Spend the last hour before bed quietly chatting or reading a good book – a real book with pages. The backlight from electronics and TV wake up rather than relax.
5. Grab a snack before bedtime
Say yes to bedtime snacks like peaches and Greek yogurt or parmesan cheese toast. They have just the right amount of carbohydrates and protein for sleep.
6. Choose your sleep gear carefully
Ensure you have clean, comfortable bedding that’s both breathable and warm, depending on your sleep style and climate. Your mattress should be no more than 10 years old and support the natural curve of your spine. If it’s time for a new mattress, follow this 12-step mattress shopping guide.
7. Create a bedroom that’s tranquil and sleep-inducing
While bedding is very important, dark-out curtains and a quiet, cool, clutter-free sleep environment will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Consider your own sleep spa.
8. Lose the snooze button
Repeatedly hitting the snooze button can seriously impair morning mental function by interrupting your natural sleep and wake-up cycle.
9. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Enjoy a big glass of water and stretch out your muscles – before your first cup of coffee. Studies show that just 2 oz. of coffee per hour is enough to keep your system juiced up all day long.
10. Plan for better sleep again tonight!
Even successful sleepers often miss this step. Only you can carve out a good night’s sleep – and the only way to do that is it to plan ahead.
If you still can’t fall asleep after trying these tips, you might want to speak to your doctor – or consult a sleep doctor.