When you were a child, you probably fought your parents tooth and nail to have an extension on your bedtime. Now that you’re an adult, however, you likely can’t get to bed early enough. Despite your inclination to hit the hay at a reasonable time, you may find yourself struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep or feel rested in the morning. This is not only frustrating, but also detrimental to your health, as sleep helps your body relax and repair itself in preparation for the next day. If your brain won’t turn off or you can’t stop tossing and turning, it may help to implement some of these tips in your lifestyle to ensure you have the quality of sleep you need to feel alert and rested.
1: Stick to a Schedule
Humans are creatures of habit. Our bodies thrive when there is a set schedule to their daily functions, hence why you probably get hungry or sleepy at roughly the same time every day. The schedule that controls when and how long you sleep is called your circadian rhythm. By keeping with the natural ebb and flow of your circadian rhythm, you can wake up more naturally and feel more refreshed.
You can tap into your cycle by going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every single day. Yes, even weekends. The more you fight your body’s natural sleeping cycle, the more difficult it is for you to sleep soundly, or at all. Sleeping in on your days off or staying up late can confuse your body’s rhythm and alter your sleep cycle. Choose a bed time when you begin to naturally feel tired and stick to it. If you’ve slept long enough to satisfy your circadian rhythm, you should wake up naturally – no more alarms every ten minutes. If you’re struggling to wake up, you probably haven’t gotten enough sleep and should try an earlier bedtime.
2: Get Some Exercise
You’ve likely heard plenty about the numerous benefits of regular exercise. It can decrease your weight, lower your cholesterol, increase your energy during the day and make you happier by decreasing stress hormone production in your brain. One of the best things about regular exercise, though, is how it impacts your sleep. It’s probably easy to understand why exercise improves the quality of your sleep. When your body is tired, you’re more likely to fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly. Intense workouts provide more significant effects, but even light exercise like walking or riding a bike can help you get to sleep.
However, because exercise boosts your energy levels, you should time your workout routine so it doesn’t affect your sleep schedule. Focus your exercise on the mornings and afternoons to reap the energy boost and enjoy a deeper sleep. If you exercise within three hours of bedtime, you may struggle to get to sleep.
3: Set the Stage
Very few people can sleep deeply and soundly anytime, anywhere, so it’s important you ensure your bedroom and bedtime routine are working together to relax your body and mind. Limit how much light you’re directly exposed to before bed. Your circadian rhythm is controlled by the hormone melatonin which is released in low-light or dark environments. So, if you stay in bed on your smart phone for half an hour before bedtime, you’ll probably have a harder time getting to sleep. If you’re feeling groggy in the mornings, exposure to natural light will have the same effect and wake you up. To improve your nighttime routine, cut out television, smart phones, computers or any backlit devices like e-readers one or two hours before bedtime. Spend this time doing something relaxing instead like reading a physical book.
Other aspects of your bedroom can influence the quality of your sleep as well. A noisy or warm room can make deep sleep difficult or impossible, while an uncomfortable mattress or pillows can keep you tossing and turning. If you can’t help the ambient noise around your home or if your partner is a world-class snorer, consider a white noise machine or earplugs.
4: Nap Control
Everyone loves a good catnap to remedy that mid-afternoon slump, but too many naps can negatively affect your sleep schedule. While power napping for 20 to 30 minutes can boost your energy and make you more alert, too many naps or naps too close to bed can throw your circadian rhythm out of whack and make it exceedingly difficult to fall asleep around bedtime. If this is a growing problem for you, eliminating naps and opting for a different energizing activity like exercise can get you through the day without sacrificing your sleep.
5: Consider Food and Beverages
Your food and drink consumption does more than simply affect your weight and physical health. After all, anyone who’s eaten a holiday feast knows a post-dinner nap or coffee pick-me-up is often incorporated into the day’s festivities. Large, heavy meals can sit in your stomach and bring your energy levels down, making you sleepy. If you find lounging on the couch after dinner makes you ready for bed by seven o’clock, try changing your habits.
Get off the couch and do a stimulating activity like cleaning dishes, preparing clothes for the next day or taking the dog for a walk. This will give you that final energy boost you need to make it to your bedtime. Avoid sugars, refined carbs, caffeine or nicotine.
Though it’s common to reach for the coffee as soon as you roll out of bed, this short-term caffeine high may actually mess with your circadian rhythm. Desserts, breads and pasta can also trigger wakefulness overnight.
Urgent Care Services and Emergency Rooms in Texas and Colorado Springs
Better quality of sleep is vital to helping you improve and maintain your overall health. Sleep allows the body to repair itself and fight illness or infection, so it’s even more important for those suffering from a major or minor illness like the flu and pneumonia and people recovering from injury and surgeries. Adapt your lifestyle to help you get back on your feet sooner and feel better longer. If good sleep isn’t helping you get over your sickness, it may be more serious than you originally thought and a trip to an urgent care may be necessary.
At Complete Care, we value your time and understand that you just want to return to the comfort of your home as soon as possible when you’re ill. That’s why we ensure you never have to sit for hours in a waiting room like you do at a hospital. Our attentive, caring staff will make sure you’re seen by one of our licensed physicians quickly and that you receive the quality of care you deserve. Contact us online to find the Complete Care nearest to you today!