10 Tips for Better Sleep Habits
Sleep is important no matter what our goals are.
Want to lose weight? Get some sleep. Want to perform better both mentally and physically? Get some sleep.
Lack of sleep is detrimental to our weight-loss goals, it affects our overall well-being, and lack of sleep has also been linked to dementia. We all know we need seven to nine hours of sleep to function optimally, but we don't put the work into achieving that.
Related - 25 Tips to Get Better Sleep
Adopting healthy habits into our life slowly change our lives. We need to prioritize getting sleep, preparing for bed, practicing good sleep hygiene, and you need to set time aside to actually sleep. Not lying in bed on social media. Not binge-watching Netflix.
So if you want to upgrade your life and start making advances both mentally and physically in your life, here are 10 tips to ensure you get enough shuteye.
Better Sleep Today
1.) You Need the Right Environment
If you aren't like me and can sleep through a nuclear bomb, you need to have the right environment in your bedroom.
Ideally, you want to install some blackout curtains to keep your room dark, you'll need to get rid of technology in the room, and you should turn the heat down at night. Experts recommend temperatures between 65-68ºF.
Did you know choosing the right pillow could make the difference in your sleep quality? I recently upgraded my pillow and it made a huge difference — no more stiff neck, no more waking up with headaches.
If you have trouble falling asleep, counting sheep will actually stress you out more. Instead, try using a breathing meditation or simply setting aside time for you to worry about your stressors. Keep your stress to a minimum when you are about to sleep — stress about the rest once you wake up refreshed.
2.) Choose the Right Sleep Attire
Studies show that we sleep better in chilly temperatures, so some find sleeping naked to be pretty effective.
If sleeping naked isn't something you can do, you should aim to find something to wear that help regulate your body temperature and aid in circulation.
There's nothing worse than waking up with your boys tangled up in your boxers and you are sweating because your shirt is making you hot.
3.) What You Eat Before Bed Matters
I've never subscribed to the nutrition myth "you shouldn't eat after 6 because it automatically turns into fat."
I do strategize what I eat and when I eat it, though. So those heavy dinners, that cocktail, and those midnight snacks could be hindering your sleep.
There are, however, some foods you could eat to improve your night's sleep. Bananas are great for magnesium and carbohydrates that will help produce serotonin, salmon is loaded with B6 to help with hormone production, and tart cherries help with melatonin production.
Did you know cutting your sleep short can cause you to crave those sugary foods?
4.) Watch Your Sleep Position
Not all sleep positions are created equally — studies suggest those who lay on their back or side get a better sleep quality than those who don't.
So when your environment is right, you have a decent pillow, the temperature is cool, and you've avoided foods that hinder your sleep, you'll start noticing a better quality of sleep.
5.) Choose Sleep Over Working Out
This isn't your pass to hit the snooze button and miss out on a workout. As the days get shorter and you wake up with it still being dark out, is it better to sleep an extra hour or slide out of bed and workout?
Studies suggest that sleep edges out exercise.
Instead of making the choice between sleeping an extra hour or exercising, go to bed an hour earlier and do both.
6.) Being in Front of a Screen Is Bad for Sleep
Are you one of those people who like to lay in bed and play on your phone and spend the next day complaining you didn't get any sleep?
One of the reasons we struggle to sleep is having too much screen time on our laptops, tablets, phones, and televisions. The blue light emitted from the screen throws our production of melatonin off. This resets our body's natural clock and will delay sleep.
7.) Exercise Will Help You Sleep
It's funny how exercise and sleep go hand in hand. When you sleep, your muscles are repairing and rebuilding and your nervous system is repairing itself. Exercise helps your sleep performance and increases how much time you are in deep sleep.
Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week while maintaining seven to nine hours of sleep per night and you will notice drastic improvements in your physical and mental performance.
8.) Naps Are Okay
A good nap can be pretty helpful after a solid training session, if your productivity is slowing down, or you are constantly hungry.
Sleeping is the best way to make up for a lack of sleep. If you are sleep deprived, this is a good way to catch up on some sleep.
If you can't take a nap throughout the day, get up and get outside and soak up some sunlight.
9.) There Are Different Sleep Cycles
We've all heard about REM sleep — the cycle where we dream. A lot more happens when we sleep, though.
Each stage of our sleep cycle helps us recover. Non-REM sleep is linked to consolidating memories and cleaning out the detrimental compounds in our brains.
10.) Know Your Body
Knowing how much sleep your body needs to perform optimally may be the best step in optimizing your sleeping patterns.
It will help you determine when to hit the sack. It's hard to oversleep, but if stress is keeping you up at night, there are some spas that offer treatments for sleep.
Figure out how long your body needs to sleep to perform optimally — your cravings will disappear, you'll be more alert, your workouts will be better, and you'll never want to give up that feeling again just to stay up to troll someone online.