In today’s climate, we can all agree that health is the new wealth. Everyone recognizes the importance of exercise, healthy eating, and work-life balance, but what about the importance of sleep? It’s common to wake up exhausted, grab a cup of coffee, and go about our daily routines like it’s no big deal. The truth is sleep is far more important than most people give it credit for. In fact, most of us actually spend 1/3 of our lives asleep. Without the proper amount and quality of sleep, our lives can be drastically impacted by health issues, lack of concentration, and mental ailments. With one in three adults not getting sufficient sleep it’s important to acknowledge this issue and take action. We’ve compiled a list of some tips and tricks to help you fall asleep fast and wake up refreshed and ready to face the new day ahead.
Tip #1: Reduce blue light exposure before bed
Exposing yourself to blue light influences your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep. While blue light can be beneficial during the day, it has the opposite effect before bed. We are most often exposed to blue lights from our phones, computers, and televisions. Here are some tips to reducing your nighttime blue light exposure:
- Turn electronics off an hour before bedtime – this routine can have plenty of benefits on top of better sleep.
- Download a blue light blocker app – these are available on most Apple and Android phones.
- Purchase a pair of blue light blocking eyeglasses.
Tip #2: Establish a nighttime routine
Poor pre-bed habits are a major contributor to insomnia and other sleep issues. Its important to create a relaxing routine before bed to promote healthy sleep. By starting at least 30 minutes in advance, you are preparing your mind and body for a restful night’s sleep by being more relaxed when bedtime rolls around. Good options to consider are taking a warm bath, reading a book, low impact stretching, or breathing exercises.
Tip #3: Be smart about pre-bed consumption
To avoid overloading your digestive system it is best to finish eating at least an hour before bed. Consuming large or heavy meals too close to bedtime can have a negative impact on your ability to fall and stay asleep throughout the night. If you need an evening snack it is best to enjoy something light and healthy. It is also beneficial to avoid alcohol and tobacco as they affect the brain in ways that can lower our sleep quality.
Tip #4: Set your internal clock
Setting your internal clock is an important step to achieving a healthy sleep routine. It’s nearly impossible to get adjusted to a sleep schedule if you are constantly going to bed and waking up at different times. Choose a wake-up time that works for you and stick to it, even on weekends when you would rather sleep in. Establishing this routine will get your mind and body on a schedule that will help you to fall asleep quickly and rest soundly throughout the night.
Tip #5: Create a sleep-inducing environment
It is essential that your bedroom is a place of comfort and relaxation in order to achieve a good night’s rest. Small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep. A room that’s ideal for sleeping is typically cool, dark, and quiet. Follow these tips to create your optimal sleeping sanctuary:
- Keep your room cool – for most people, the ideal temperature varies between 68 and 72 degrees.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable – this can vary drastically between individuals, so it is important to find a bed that fits your specific needs.
- Avoid light exposure – keep phones and televisions out of the bedroom as even the slightest bit of light can negatively impact your quality of sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is reserved for sleep – avoid working, watching tv, and browsing the internet in bed.
All of these tips and tricks can be used to help promote healthy sleeping habits and behaviors. A simple internet search can reveal plenty other techniques including tea, supplements, and exercise. As individuals our needs can vary drastically so it is important to find what works best for you. If your sleep continues to suffer you should seek medical advice as you may have a condition such as insomnia or sleep apnea . If you think you may have a sleep condition, take our Sleep Apnea Quiz to see if you are at risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
The information above is for educational use only. If you need specific medical advice about your sleep therapy options, please reach out to your physician, or call us to speak to a Hiro Health Wellness Team member at 866-764-2165.