5 Tips to Kick Start Your Weekly Sleep Routine
It’s a new year, a new you, and it’s time to start some fresh habits. You’re eating better, you’re making time to work out — but what about the habit most important to your overall health? That’s right, we’re talking sleep. Sleep is a vital component of tons of different processes vital to your body AND mind.
How to Wake up Early, and Become a Morning Person
For those who have struggled waking up early their entire life get it. It’s not easy to become a morning person when you’re in the habit of staying up late, and sleeping until noon. You’re also probably the person who schedules classes later, tends to work better at night, and enjoy being a night owl. There’s nothing wrong with being that kind of person, but if you’re looking to change, there’s a few steps you can take to make that happen. Becoming a morning person is not hard when you know where to start.
It’s all well and good to say that you want to sleep more, but good sleep – like anything else – is built on good sleep habits. It’s something sleep scientists call, “sleep hygiene” and it is about learning behaviors that can help even the most finicky and fickle sleeper. Here are five tips for good sleep hygiene that should have you getting the rest you deserve by the end of this week.
1. Ditch Your Devices
While smartphones, tablets, and laptops are all modern marvels of the 21st century, they can seriously bite into your sleep time. Besides being a huge distraction, these devices actually emit a sleep hinderer that scientists have dubbed, “blue light.” This type of light, which comes from most artificial sources, signals to your brain that it’s time to get up — usually the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do when you’re getting ready for bed. So if the urge strikes you to check that last text, try to curb the impulse. Mix in a good book instead! The act of reading is a proven success for inducing sleep.
2. Have a Glass of Water
It might sound funny to have a glass of water before bed, but being well hydrated is actually a really good way to make sure that you sleep soundly. Yes, it could lead to you getting up in the night (this problem can be solved by drinking a glass of water over an hour before sleep), but being well hydrated is a way to soothe nasal passages and your airway, especially during dry winter months when you may dry out during your sleep. Being hydrated can’t prevent sleep apnea, but it has been shown in some cases to lessen the effects.
3. Find a Bed Time that Works and Stick to it
Find the time to get to bed and stick with it. There’s all kinds of evidence to suggest that a consistent bedtime is crucial to establishing a sleep routine. Your body naturally produces melatonin, a sleep regulator that works by getting you into REM sleep easier. The more consistent your bedtime, the easier it is for your brain to know when to begin sleep.
4. Give Yourself Time
It’s always tough to find eight hours in the evening to get well rested, but it’s really important that you find it. Eight hours isn’t just a pipe dream or wishful thinking, it has to be done with a sense of purpose. Try watching less television at night and see how it improves your waking hours. If you end up needing an hour less and still feel refreshed, then you can easily cut your way back to that, but especially initially it is so important to give your body the option of a full night’s rest.
5. Don’t Stress
Most importantly, don’t stress too much if you miss one (or more) of these steps. Anxiety is the biggest sworn enemy of sleep, so it won’t do any good to beat yourself up over it. Just relax, restart your clock, and try again the next night.
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