A good night sleep plays an important role in our overall health. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep is important for both your mental and physical health. It improves brain function, prepares you for the day, improves your attention span, the ability to make decisions, and the ability to be creative. However, the lack of sleep is linked to depression, suicide, and high blood pressure.
Despite knowing the benefits of sleep, it can be hard to get a good night of rest. Sometimes your brain just doesn’t shut off, or you find yourself waking up multiple times during the night. What can be done to improve your sleep hygiene, the practices, and rituals associated with your bed and night-time routine?
Get Some Sun
Spending time outside helps reset your internal clock. Try to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight at both dawn and dusk. Our brain relies on sunshine to stay awake, so the more natural light you expose your body to the more intuned it will be when it is night.
Stick to a Schedule
Going to bed at the same time every night creates consistency. Try to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day so your body falls into a habit. It also helps maintain your circadian rhythm, otherwise known as your internal clock.
Try Some Relaxation Techniques
Try to find relaxing methods that work well for you. Following a routine helps prepare your body for sleep. This can include running an aromatherapy diffuser, burning Palo Santo or incense, taking a warm shower, even listening to peaceful meditative music.
Limit your Electronic Exposure
Exposure to blue-tinted light from our phones and other electronics signal the brain to stay awake and active. The light produced from our phone and tablet actually tricks the brain into thinking it is day-time. Instead of zoning out while watching TV or scrolling on the internet, try to decompress with soothing music. Additionally, the noise from the television actually disrupts sleep, reducing the amount of deep sleep we need.
Try to Workout
A little bit of exercise goes a long way. In addition to improving your overall health, exercise tires out your body, making it easier to fall asleep when the time comes. It does not have to be a strenuous activity, some light walking, a quick jog or a bike ride will all do the trick.
Watch What You Drink
Water is important for your overall health, but watch your water intake especially later at night. Too much water will trigger your bladder, waking you up throughout the night. Another tip, avoid drinking caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee at a certain time during the afternoon. Caffeine can stay in your system even when it is time for bed. Even alcohol, which is a sedative, can hurt your ability to stay asleep.
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