Don’t let life get in the way of good sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is the biggest challenge of our time-poor culture. So much to do, so little time to get it all done. While we move mountains and run ourselves ragged to check off the items on our ever growing to-do lists, we forget to focus on the very thing that powers us – sleep. You may be able to get away with having an apple on the go for lunch once in a while, or skip the gym for fun with friends, but skimping on sleep can lead to short and long term health challenges.
Want to ramp up your ability to get a good night’s sleep, despite your crazy schedule? Follow the steps below and we guarantee you’ll be sleeping better AND protecting your health. Sounds like a win/win situation, right?
How to achieve better sleep
Don’t take long naps that last for hours and avoid taking a nap too close to your bedtime.
Do take a power nap to refresh yourself – early afternoon is the best time. Try to limit your siesta to 20-40 minutes, just enough time to give you that extra push without throwing off your sleep schedule.
Don’t take a cold shower before bed. A cold shower may tighten your muscles and wake you up – these are best saved for the morning.
Don’t go to bed stressed. Anything that riles you up and gets your emotions going and your mind spinning will make sleep harder to achieve. Avoid engaging in work, an argument with a family member or anything that can increase your stress levels high before bed.
Do relax your mind and body. Stretch out the stress and breathe in the calmness with yoga or meditation to get yourself prepared for the luxurious journey to dreamland. This Do can take some time to learn – just don’t give up.
Don’t drink caffeine, too much alcohol or smoke close to your bedtime if your goal is to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. Moderation and knowing your own limits is key to balancing sleep and play.
Do have a warm glass of milk to help lull you to sleepiness. It’s the old tried and true method that has been working for generations.
Don’t eat heavy or spicy foods in the evening. If you’re body’s busy digesting all that food, sleep will be elusive.
Do choose lighter meals or snacks if you eat close to the usual time you like to hit the hay. You don’t want to go to bed hungry so always have evening snack options on hand to promote sleep.
Don’t lie in bed awake for too long if you can’t drift off to sleep. Trying to stick it out by counting sheep can quickly turn into counting the minutes on the clock. If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes of your head hitting the pillow, get out of bed.
Do keep a notepad close by to jot down anything on your mind that may be keeping you awake or have a book handy to read.
Don’t use your bed for anything else but sleep (and that other “S” thing we do in bed). Your mattress should be a sleep sanctuary and never be an office, picnic spot or a personal movie theater.
Do turn off all the bright lights and electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. Your brain needs time to disconnect from the screens and focus on preparing for sleep. The more you use your brain, the more it needs sleep to recharge and reboot.
Don’t live by the motto “I will sleep when I’m dead.” Sleep and health are more directly related than many may realize. If you want to conquer the world, you need the energy only sleep can deliver.
Do follow a sleep routine. Keeping a regular sleep schedule helps your body maintain its hormone levels necessary to reach optimal sleep benefits. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every morning and night puts you in control of your sleep habits.
Don’t accept bad sleep as a burden to live with. Sleep is a nightly event, not a task.
Do create a relaxing sleep environment. We all have different sleep needs and you might need a cold room, lots of blankets and a sound machine to reach that REM sleep or you might prefer a warm room, no blankets and sleeping in the buff. You might need a new mattress or maybe just some tips on what makes a great bedtime snack. Whatever you need to help you sleep better, we’re here for you
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