Forget about diets or workout programs; This year, we challenge you to make restorative sleep your primary New Year’s Resolution. Here are 9 tips to get you started:
1. Make it a habit
Our bodies work like clockwork. More accurately, they work like sun-work. They prefer habitual, cyclical, daily rhythms and their circadian rhythm depends on consistency. Try to make your bedtimes and wake times as consistent as possible, seven-days a week.
2. Create a sleepy bedroom atmosphere
Is your bedroom cluttered, brightly lit or a hubbub of activity? It’s time to do a little sleep-centric makeover to create a relaxing, soothing and peaceful ambiance that is conducive to sleep. Get started using these 6 Tips to Design the Ideal Bedroom for Sleep.
3. Ditch the caffeine
Ironically, the same ingredient that helps you recover from lack of sleep can also prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Caffeine has a “half-life” of about 3-5 hours, but isn’t completely eliminated from your system for a full 8-14 hours. Look at the clock and time your caffeinated and decaffeinated consumption accordingly
DID YOU KNOW: The typical 8 oz cup of decaf coffee still contains 2 mg of caffeine!
4. Just say no to light
This may come as a blow but that light emanating from your gadget, smartphone or TV screen is a major brain stimulant and shuts down the natural production of sleep-inducing hormones. Even waking up and turning on a light can suppress melatonin production.
If possible, turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before you want to sleep and change night-lighting over into the red light spectrum. Charge your phone elsewhere and go back to the old fashioned alarm clock to minimize late-night, social media disruptions.
5. Watch what you eat
Going to sleep on a full stomach is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. It’s best to finish your last meal at least a couple hours before lying down. Believe it or not, carbohydrates seem to be best at helping people sleep because they stimulate the production of tryptophan, a hormone that makes you sleepy.
6. Plan a daily workout
Sedentary lifestyles aren’t good at wearing the body out. While your brain may work hard, your muscles aren’t designed for all that stationary time. Exercising is one way to simulate physical activity that was a normal part of our ancestors’ everyday lives. Ideally, you should exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
7. Splurge on a good mattress
Those commercials stating that a high-quality mattress makes all the difference actually right. Your body has the ability to toss and turn without you even knowing it, all in an effort to get comfortable. Make sure to find a mattress designed to accommodate your body type, shape and preferred sleep position.
8. Create a relaxing ritual
Do something intentional to help your body and mind unwind, whether it’s deep breathing, meditating, a few yoga stretches or any other relaxing activity that doesn’t require bright light.
9. Try, try again
If at first you don’t succeed, keep practicing. It can take several weeks of repeating your new bedtime ritual to reset your circadian rhythm back to its natural, sleep-happy baseline.
Try One Of These Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep Tonight
You don’t have to rearrange your whole life to start seeing results from better sleep. Try implementing the easiest changes first and you’ll slowly turn them into your new habits. If you go to sleep really late one night, that’s okay–don’t worry about it–just try to get back on track the next night.
Once you get in a habit with 1-2 of these tips, you can try some of the others to continue striving for truly restorative sleep.
For more health and fitness tips, visit Amfamfit.com or contact American Family Fitness to get advice from a certified fitness professional.