Are you tired of being tired? Want to improve your overall health? Then fix your sleep. Lack of sound sleep, or even just poor sleep habits has immediate negative effects on hormones, motor function and brain function. Moreover, bad sleep can make it hard to lose weight and put you at higher risk of disease because getting enough deep sleep allows our bodies to reset, repair, replenish cells and revitalize our immune system.
If you want to optimize your health, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do. That said, here are 7 tried, true and new tips on getting enough ZZZ’s in your routine.
The Tried and True:
Maintain consistent bedtimes, even on weekends. If someone tells you it’s past their bedtime, what they’re really saying is don’t mess with their circadian rhythm. Even late nights on weekends are disruptive to our natural sleep cycles. If you have consistency in your routine, your body will automatically respond, so choose a time that’s realistic for you and stick to it.
Watch what you drink. The general rule of thumb is no caffeine after 2pm and no alcohol if you want a restful night’s sleep. Some people also try and get their water intake done an hour before bedtime so they’re not having to get up at night as well.
Make your room a NO GADGET zone. Experts recommend turning off the TV and any electronic devices two hours before bedtime. Even better, they say, is removing all TV’s, video consoles and phones from our rooms, making them quiet, no-electronic zones.
Upgrade your sleep environment. Create a peaceful environment. It’s only natural that a serene environment would put you at ease and help you sleep better. That means decluttering now. A messy bedroom creates stress. Piles of clothes, paperwork or exercise equipment is a subconscious reminder of all we have left undone. Invest in soft lighting, soft sheets, an aroma diffuser for essential oils like lavender and put your bed in the best feng shui position — head against a wall where you can see the door, but not facing it.
Research and technology is changing at a rapid fire pace and so is the response to sleep issues. Here are some of the newer ways research shows we can sleep more soundly.
Try Pink Noise. Pink is the new white. A recent study found that pink noise, like waves lapping on a beach or trees rusting in the wind increased time spent in deep sleep.
Wear Blue glasses. Block brain-stimulating blue light from phones and computers with special blue-light blocking glasses. If you don’t want to wear glasses, you can download apps that do it for you such as f.lux.
Listen to ASMR. (Autonomous sensory meridian response) — Wait, what? ASMR is defined as “brain tingles” or the feeling of well-being combined with a tingling sensation in the scalp and down the back of the neck, as experienced by some people in response to a specific gentle stimulus, such as a specific sound. There are loads of videos on youtube and on audio streaming services that you can turn on at or just before bed time.