I can’t decide if I love or hate Daylights Savings Time. On one hand we’ll have an hours worth more sunlight in the evenings to be outdoors, walk the dog, and not have to have a flashlight handy in order to grill, you all know how much I love to grill. But for all the good, I’m just not sure its worth one hour of my precious sleep. This week is National Sleep Awareness Week and since we’ll all be losing an hour of sleep on Sunday this weeks Healthy Living Tuesday post focuses on how to get the most of your night and wake up feeling refreshed. Here’s your 6 Steps to Better Sleep:
Start a Routine
It really doesn’t matter what you do as a night-time ritual, as long as it excludes red-bull infused coffee. What is important rather that what you do is when you do it. Develop a routine that relaxes you and sends the signal to your brain it is time to start winding down for the day. Avoid stressful activities and give your routine a solid two weeks before making any big changes. Do Your best to keep with the routine, even on the weekends. It also helps to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. On a side note I’m digging this alarm clock that simulates the sunrise as an alternative to the cell phone alarm so many of us use.
Set an Electronics Curfew
As part of your nightly ritual you may want to institue an electronics curfew. No cell phone, no tablets, no Netflix. It is common knowledge now that the light emmitted by these devices signal our brains to be alert. Not only does the light disturb your brains ability to rest, but if any of the following have every happened to you, setting an electronics curfew may help.
Have you ever been:
- Stressed out by a late night email
- Worked up after watching an emotionally taxing movie (scared, excited, etc)
- Kept up by the flow of creative juices fueled by Pinterest (my vice for sure!)
- Trying to decide between #whiteandgold or #blueandblack (IT’S WHITE AND GOLD!)
I love yoga, and almost nothing relaxes me more than running through a few restorative poses. You may consider adding a routine like this one to your evening routine. A relaxing restorative flow provides you time to reflect on your day, say a prayer or two, clear your mind, and settle into a nice rythym of breathing.
The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study in 2013 that linked quality of sleep with exercise. The results from that study indicated individuals who exercised regularly experienced a higher quality of sleep, as well as less daytime drowsiness. The study also correlated the amount of time spent sitting each day with the quality of sleep. Predictablity the more we sit during the day the lower the quality of sleep. Dr. Micheal Grandner Ph.D. a member of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine program and instructor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania says:
“Sleep, activity, diet — they all support each other as three important pillars of health.”
According to Scientists 65°F is the ideal sleeping temperature. With the weather we’ve been having lately that has been the norm in our drafty old home, but when summer comes make sure you’ve got a plan to stay cool at night. Maybe a cool shower before bed; when you are wet you lose body heat faster, not to mention the relaxing qualities. Anything you can do to keep your heartrate down and body temperature cool will help you sleep.
If You Wake Up, Get Up
If you wake up in the night and spend twenty unsucessful minutes trying to get back to sleep, don’t just lay there and stir actually get up and do something to distract yourself. I am the world’s worst for not being able to sleep and hoping on instagram or twitter and just scrolling through posts. Author Richard Wiseman states in his book Night School: Wake Up to The Power of Sleep that our ancestors took a “first” and “second” sleep and “the time between the two periods was used for various activities, including quietly thinking, reading, smoking, praying, chatting, having sex, and sometimes even visiting neighbors.” This insures that when you’re ready to go back to sleep you’ll be able to do so without much effort.
So, do you do any of these things on a daily basis? Have anything tips or tricks to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!