Sleep: the love-hate relationship we face every day. We love to crawl into a cozy bed after a long day of work, but we hate the precious hours out of our day it eats up.
As college students, we sacrifice sleep to studying and socializing during the week and make every missed hour up on the weekends.
As moms, we surrender our sweet slumber to the whims and crying spells of our babies. At any stage of life, we can experience insomnia or other sleep disorders that plague over 50 million Americans.
What if we could reconcile our broken relationship with sleep and move toward a healthier sleep cycle?
It’s not as hard as it sounds, yet it requires a holistic approach that involves changes to your waking hours too.
These five tips will get you started, whether you are a student, young professional, mom, or any stage in between or after.
1. Avoid the electronics.
For at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep, plug in and turn off your iPhone, iPad, and any other electronics for the night.
This gives your eyes some time to wind down after a long day of stimulation, and your mind some time to calm yourself, reduce distraction, and minimize stress.
2. Eat right.
Try not to eat anything too spicy, fatty, or full of carbs right before bed. Avoid caffeine four to six hours before bedtime.
Consider drinking chamomile tea or another soothing drink as you wind down for the day, but don’t load up on the liquids right before crawling in bed or trips to the bathroom will interrupt your beauty sleep!
3. Develop a sleep schedule you can follow.
Extenuating circumstances (such as crying babies) aside, we can all do better at sticking to a regular sleep routine.
About eight hours of sleep are recommended each night, so take time to do a bit of math and make those eight hours a priority in the twenty-four hours you’re given each day.
Try to be consistent throughout the week so your body can get used to this pattern. Encourage your family to follow a similar schedule so you’re all working together on this goal!
4. Stay active during the day.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the gym every day, but taking a walk after dinner or going on a run each morning is a guaranteed way to make you sleep better.
Studies show that especially for middle-aged women or those experiencing insomnia, performing aerobic exercise during the day has positive results on your sleeping and waking hours!
5. Get your work done early.
This one is for all you students and workaholics! I know it’s easier said than done, but make an effort to get your work done earlier in the day so your last hour or two before bed can be relaxing rather than distracting or stressful.
If you’re most productive at night, then try to schedule classes or meetings for later in the morning so you can still squeeze in those eight hours.
A good night’s sleep improves mood, health, relationships, happiness levels, and energy, giving you fuel for the day ahead of you. Sleep is more than just a luxury; it is a life-giving necessity that we should learn to respect.