I used to feel stressed and fuzzy-brained nearly every day. It wasn’t until I read, Sleep Smarter, by Shawn Stevenson, that I began to treat my sleep health the same as my nutrition and exercise.
It’s so easy to fill every hour of the day with activities. We work, run errands, or veg on the couch watching endless hours of Netflix. We may even think that the time we spend in the lazy boy is helping us recharge for the next day. But in reality, it’s stealing your health.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but getting MORE sleep, will prepare you to be more clear-headed and productive throughout the day.
Here are 7 ways to sleep your way to better health
1. Plan tomorrow’s schedule before bed
If you want to go to bed with a clear head, set aside 5-10 minutes to list the top 1-3 priorities for the next day and block time out on the calendar for them. Also, be sure to block out time for exercise and set out your workout clothes. Make it easy to avoid excuses. Knowing that you have a set time to complete your most important tasks will give you peace of mind and restful sleep.
2.Unplug from electronics 60-90 minutes before bed
Studies have shown that blue light from electronic devices, including television, computers, and phones, can suppress the production of melatonin… the hormone that helps you sleep. If you’ve got a TV in your bedroom, it’s time to get it out of there! Falling asleep with the TV on keeps your brain stimulated and alert. You may be sleeping, but you will not be able to reach a restful REM sleep. That goes for your phone as well. Keep it plugged in the bathroom or closet where notifications and light will not disturb you.
3. Dinner and done
Late night snacking leads to late night digestion. The problem with this is that it interrupts your body’s natural healing process. Your body goes through 3, 8-hour cycles each day. The last 8-hour cycle is when your body is designed to rest, recharge, and rebuild. If it is busy digesting that last piece of carrot cake, you’re dividing the focus and limiting time for healing. Try this instead: Stop eating 2 hours before bed. Once you’ve finished dinner, be DONE! Avoid the snack-attack.
4. Read for pleasure
This is one of my favorite new habits!! I have never met a personal development book I didn’t like. I LOVE to learn. But my brain does not need that type of stimulation when it’s time to go to sleep. I also have a problem with getting very sleepy when reading at night. So I’ve started listening to novels on the Audible app. I have LOVED listening to a great story while I get ready for bed and do a little end-of-the-day stretches. It’s become like a treat I look forward to and I have noticed a great improvement in sleep.
5. Keep a journal
No matter how your day was, there’s always something to be grateful for! Get yourself a cute notebook that brings you joy, and spend a few minutes jotting down the highlights of your day. Creating a habit of gratitude will definitely change your thought-life, which leads to more joy, positivity, and fulfillment.
6. Keep your sleep schedule – even on the weekend
The idea of “catching up” on sleep is a myth. Rather than running yourself ragged all week and catching up on the weekends, practice setting a regular wake and sleep time for every day. The consistency of your sleep schedule will by far improve your rest, brain health and energy.
Wherever you are with your sleep habit, just remember that it only takes small little changes to make big improvements. Just by starting with 1 or 2 of the tips above, you will notice a difference. Try it for 30 days and see how you feel. I’d love to hear about it!