A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Research shows that poor sleep can have immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function. In both adults and children, lack of sleep can cause weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes. Scientists have found that over the last few decades, both sleep quality and quantity have declined. If you want to optimize your health, or lose weight, then try these tips to improve your sleep starting tonight.
- Eliminate the Screen – Studies show that stimulation and the blue light emitted from screens may suppress melatonin production and interrupt our ability to snooze. If the temptation is too strong, remove any screens from your bedroom. Also try to totally unplug at least one hour before bed so your mind has time to unwind.
- Turn Down the Thermostat – According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for sleeping is approximately 60 to 68 degrees. So, turn down the thermostat, open a window or turn on a fan.
- Relax – Easier said than done, right? But it’s true. Find something that you can do right before bed that will help calm your body, whether it’s exercise, reading a book, or even some yoga or meditation. Doing so will help send signals to your brain that it’s time to unwind and get ready to sleep.
- Take a Lavender Scented Bath – A warm bath can help totally relax your body. Plus, if you raise your temperature a degree or two in the bath, the steeper drop at bedtime is more likely to put you into a deep sleep. Add some lavender scented bath bubbles and you’ll sleep like a baby! Research suggests that lavender helps promote relaxation and sleep by decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Skip the Wine – while you might think it’s relaxing to end the evening with a little nightcap, you’re likely doing more harm than good. Research shows that consuming alcohol before bed can disrupt rapid eye movement or REM sleep later on in the night. Try to eliminate all adult beverages at least three hours before bedtime.
- Establish a Bedtime Routine – there’s a reason bedtime routines are recommended for kids, but having one can benefit all of us. If you consistently do the same things before bed, you will be sending your body a strong signal that it is time for sleep. It might seem trivial, but it can make a big difference in how quickly you’re able to fall asleep.
- Write it Down – is something bothering you or do you have a “to do” list a mile long? Going over these things in your mind before bed can keep you awake. Try keeping paper and a pencil by your bed and if you think of something, write it down and put it out of your mind.