In order to be our best productive selves, our body and brain need proper time off. With so many other distractions, we’re quick to toss sleep off our priority list—but the effects of sleep deprivation can drastically affect our quality of life, our energy, and our physical and mental health.
Only good things can come out of prioritizing sleep. Since it’s easier said than done, here’s six tips to improve your sleep.
1. Early screening
Despite how great technology is, it hasn’t been designed to put us to sleep. The glowing blue light emitted by devices reduces the production of sleep hormones, such as melatonin, which helps the body relax and get into a deep sleep. For a better night of sleep, avoid screen exposure for one-to-two hours before bedtime. A good trick is to take all devices out of your bedroom. This will also help you to not check your phone in the middle of the night, allowing for a more relaxed morning.
2. Work your body
The benefits of exercising are endless, but it can also help to provide a good night’s sleep. Just a few minutes of physical activity every day can make a difference in your night. Not a fan of working out? Practising yoga or stretching helps you to relax, which can make a difference in your sleep quality. If physical activity is hard to fit into your schedule, you can do muscle relaxation in bed. Starting from the tip of your toes, work your way up, progressively tensing all of your muscles as much as possible. When you reach the top of your head, release the tension, and relax your body completely.
3. Learn to breathe
Breathing exercises are simple tricks to help you reach a calm state of mind, which is particularly handy if you have trouble sleeping. When you inhale deeply and slowly, your body enters a relaxed mode immediately, allowing your breathing to slow and your heart rate to drop. An easy exercise is yoga breathing, also known as the 4-7-8 technique, which can be used daily and doesn’t require much time.
4. Introduce a routine
Try separating sleep time from the rest of your day by setting an alarm indicating bedtime. The idea is to reserve time to do relaxing things you like, before turning the lights off. You could drink your favourite herbal tea, write a page in your journal, catch up on your audiobook, prepare for tomorrow–any quiet activity that will help you ease into sleep.
5. Adopt healthy eating habits
Your food and drink intake influences your sleep. It is not surprising that caffeine interferes with sleep, but what you may not know is that it can keep you up for the following 8 hours, so it’s best to have your last coffee before noon. Trade in a late dinner for an earlier mealtime to allow more time for digestion. Afraid you could get hungry? Nighttime snacks actually help you sleep. Make time for a bowl of yogurt, healthy cereals, or enjoy your favourite fruit.
6. Model your space
We may be sleeping with our eyes closed, but our environment can also interfere with our sleep. Is your bedroom arrangement comfortable for bedtime? Try adjusting the room temperature, invest in quality linens and bedding, or change your curtains to a black-out model. As our senses are functioning at full capacity in our sleep, and aromatherapy can do wonders. We suggest lavender in an oil or spray form, as it’s known to encourage a deep sleep.