We’ve all heard that 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal for adults. Just because it is optimal does not mean we are actually getting that much sleep every night. Many people are convinced they can function well on less sleep, while others experience frustrating bouts of insomnia. If you are hoping to achieve healthier sleep patterns, here are five ways to get your body on track.
Listen to your body’s internal clock
Many of us tend to ignore the signals our body is giving when it comes to sleep. Maybe you’re busy catching up on your favorite television shows after the kids have gone to bed, or perhaps you’re out enjoying an evening with friends. Keep in mind that our bodies tell us we’re tired for a reason: so we can rest. If your body’s internal clock is telling you that bedtime is at 10PM, it’s time to start listening. Developing a regular sleep schedule is one of the key components of healthy sleep. Experiment with different times of going to sleep and waking up until you find the schedule that’s right for your body.
Develop a bedtime routine
If you’re a parent or know a family with children, chances are the kids have a bedtime routine. It turns out that establishing a bedtime routine can be just as important for adults. Allowing yourself at least an hour before bed to unwind and do something relaxing like yoga will help you to achieve more restful sleep at night. Some people use simple rituals such as dimming the lights, reading a book, or having a cup of herbal tea to help signal to their brain that bedtime is near.
If you rely on coffee or tea to get you through your late afternoon slump, you may be having a negative impact on your sleep patterns. It’s a good idea to avoid caffeine consumption within five hours of bedtime, especially if your body is sensitive to this stimulant. Alcohol can also interrupt your sleep at night. Though some would argue that a glass or two of wine relaxes them, once your body metabolizes the alcohol, chances are you will find yourself wide awake. Try to avoid consuming alcohol within three hours of bedtime.
Avoid large meals before bed
Eating a large meal before bed is a bad idea for a few reasons. If you eat too much, you are going to feel bloated and uncomfortable, which will make it difficult to get to sleep. You are also much more likely to experience heartburn if you’re lying down while your body digests the meal. You can also try more natural foods. If you typically eat dinner close to bedtime and are experiencing these symptoms, consider moving your meal earlier or eating something lighter. It could work wonders for your sleep.
Studies have shown that unplugging from computers, laptops, and phones at least an hour before bed can have a positive impact on your sleep. Our mobile devices have a tendency to get our brains firing on all cylinders, which is not conducive to sleep. So if you are guilty of checking your email on your smartphone each night before bed, think about unplugging earlier to achieve more restful sleep. If you’re especially sensitive, consider reading a book instead of watching TV and using non-light up clocks in your bedroom.
Sleep disturbances are a source of frustration for many, but achieving healthier sleep can be done by following these simple steps. Making minor lifestyle changes will have a truly positive impact on both the quality and the duration of your sleep each night.
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About the Author: Brandon Travis likes to spend his free time swimming and training for his next triathlon in the spring. He works in the health and wellness sector, helping people live better and healthier lives. When he’s not working out he likes to review sites like iRollover.