Approximately 1 in 3 Americans aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis, and that’s a big deal. Sleep is critical to your overall well-being, and if you’re consistently clocking in less than seven hours a night, it could be detrimental to your health in the long-run. But if getting a good night’s sleep seems like an impossible goal, don’t fret! By implementing the following tips, you’ll be well on your way to better sleep and better health.
1. Focus on consistency.
According to sleep experts, you should aim to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. And while that’s easier said than done – who doesn’t love to sleep in an extra hour or two on the weekends? – maintaining a consistent schedule is one of the best things you can do for your sleep health; it’s essential to keeping your circadian rhythm in sync. If your current schedule is all over the place, start by setting an alarm for the same time every morning (Saturdays and Sundays included) and adjust from there.
2. Have some fun in the sun.
Research suggests that plenty of sunlight exposure, especially during the morning hours, is tied to a good night’s sleep. Similarly, you’ll want to dim the lights at night as you get ready for bed. While you’re getting your 30 minutes of sunlight in, why not go for a jog or shoot some hoops in the driveway? Daily exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it will also improve your sleep quality – just be sure to get it in at least three hours before you hit the sack.
3. Unplug from your electronics.
If your nighttime routine involves scrolling Instagram in the final minutes before bed, you may want to find a new habit – may we suggest a physical copy of a good book? Electronics such as your phone, TV, and laptop emit blue light that stimulates the brain while keeping you alert (which is the last thing you need before a deep slumber). Try powering down at least an hour before bedtime, and store your electronics in another room if you catch yourself craving a quick scroll.
4. Create the ideal sleeping environment.
Experts agree that a cool, dark, and quiet environment is most conducive to better sleep. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation has stated that the optimal bedroom temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees. Notoriously light sleepers might also want to utilize a consistent background noise, such as a bathroom fan or a white noise machine. The noise can help mask other sounds that would potentially wake you, and it might even help prepare your mind for sleep.
5. Watch what you eat (and drink).
Did you know that what you consume in the hours leading up to bedtime can make or break a good night of sleep? For example, spicy foods and foods high in fat and sugar are no-nos if you’re after a peaceful slumber. Caffeine – which you’ll find in your cup of joe as well as sodas, chocolate, and certain teas – should also be avoided in the evening hours. On the other hand, consuming certain foods like almonds, turkey, cherries, and kiwi could enhance your quality of sleep.