1. Create a bedtime ritual
Creating a night-time routine before you go to bed helps teach your mind when it’s time to go to sleep. It’s all about training your brain the same way Pavlov did with his dogs.
Try to keep the routine consistent. It could be something like drinking some chamomile tea, reading a book, and then brushing your teeth. Doing those three things consistently every night is a great way to wind down and relax.
2. Get in synch with your Circadian Rhythm
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm is one of the most important strategies for achieving a healthy body and mind.
If you keep a regular sleep schedule (going to bed and getting up at the same time each day) you will feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. This holds true even if you alter your sleep schedule by only an hour or two. Consistency is vitally important.
By establishing a healthy sleep pattern your body can better regulate hormones. You will also be able to adequately recover from exercise. While we sleep is when our bodies go into repair mode. This means you burn calories and build muscle while you’re sleeping. If you have to stay up late try getting up at your normal time and take a nap at some point during the day, but only if you need to.
If you’re having a hard time regulating your circadian rhythm you can try supplementing with Melatonin. This is the natural hormone your body releases to help you fall asleep at night.
3. Cool, dark, comfy, and quite
There’s nothing better than a comfortable bed. This is one area you should spend a little extra money and opt for the upgrade. Your bed is where you spend a lot of time and sleep is extremely important to your health. It only makes sense to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.
Also, it’s been shown that sleeping in a cool room helps regulate hormone levels and you get a better nights rest. Optimal room temperature should be around 24 degrees Celsius.
Light can also play a role in our sleep and how active our brains are. Try to get your room as dark as possible. Too much light creeping in? Get a comfortable sleep mask or better yet, buy some blackout curtains.
Finally, make sure it’s quite. I live next to a busy street so at night, especially on the weekends, I’ll wear ear plugs. Buy a nicer pair that will last you a while and make sure you clean them once a week or so.
4. Remember the 20-minute bedtime rule.
You should treat your bedroom as a place of peace and quite. Good vibes only! Lying in bed at night unable to sleep is a terrible feeling. You get frustrated and it seems to only make matters worse which is exactly what you don’t want.
If you find yourself awake after 20 minutes get out of bed and read a book or do a quiet relaxing activity. This can help clear your mind. Only when you start to feel yourself getting sleepy should you try climbing back into bed.
Just be sure to keep all your frustrations out of the bedroom.
5. No bright lights or screens 1 hour before bed!
Bright lights and phone screens trick the brain into thinking it is daytime and will suppress the release of melatonin. Melatonin is essential to helping us get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Before going to bed try reading a paper book instead. For lighting, you should use lamps instead of bright overhead lights. This will help send signals to the brain letting it know it’s time to go to bed.
6. The bedroom rule of two
The bed should be used for only two activities; sleeping and sex.
It’s important to train our brains to know that when we lay down in bed it’s time for only one of those two activities. Eating, watching TV, and playing on our phones can distract our brains from the real purpose of our beds. If every time you jump into bed you play on your phone then that’s what your brain will expect, even if you want to go to sleep.
Just like Pavlov’s dogs you have to train your brain. When we jump into bed we want our brains to register it’s either time for sleep or, well, you know. It may be tough for some of you, but turn off the TV, put down your phone, and get to sleep (or do that other thing that’s ok in bed). It can really make a huge difference!
7. Avoid afternoon stimulants.
Physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your sleep and energy levels but sometimes we all need an afternoon pick-me-up. While, it’s ok to have a cup of coffee here and there, you should try not to consume it at least 6 hours before bed. For some (not all!) stimulants in the afternoon can interfere with your sleep patterns.
There’s a bit of a roller coaster effect when you consume caffeine and other stimulants. Taking them at the wrong time can cause you to not go into some stages of sleep or possibly, not let you sleep at all. Depending on how you metabolize caffeine you may be ok, just try not to over do it.
Want a better way to amp up your energy levels? Go for a 5-minute walk outside and get some fresh air. You can also do 5 minutes of light physical activity to restore energy levels.
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