Getting a killer sleep is crucial for optimal mental and physical health. When your body doesn’t get the rest it needs, it doesn’t function properly. Things like weight gain, depression, restlessness, mood swings and a weakened immune system are not uncommon side affects.
Not to mention a wonky sleep schedule can throw everything else in your life out of balance! So, if you have an irregular sleep schedule you’re jet-legged, not sleeping well or just a night owl, these tips are for you.
Unplug – This is a common one in today’s world. Are you looking at work emails , tagging your friends in memes or online shopping right before bed? It’s important to disengage from any electronics at least 1-2 hours prior to dozing off. The lights from our screens inherently tell the brain to hold off on releasing the chemical melatonin (this chemical helps the body prepare for a deep sleep) but when you’re in a dark space around your usual bedtime, your brain is signaled “time for bed!” and melatonin is released. You should also try removing all or most electronics from your room, avoid checking work emails outside of work hours and spend more in person time with your friends.
- Gratitude- We’ve all had restless sleeps when our mind seems to wander carelessly for hours. It can be about simple tasks such as what you’re making for dinner tomorrow night, or maybe there are complex issues in your life that lead you to feel guilty, scared or angry. Whatever the case may be, it’s always healthy to end your day by going over some things you’re grateful for. You can write them down, or just mentally note them. Feel free to use this tip at any point during your day when you need a mood booster! (ie. what are 5 things you’re grateful for right now?)
Lighting- Keep it as dark as possible. If you happen to have light leaking through, try a sleeping mask or black out certains/blinds. You shouldn’t be able to see your hand infront of your face.
- Noise- It’s okay to listen to soft music before bed or natural sounds of waves and wilderness help some people feel drowsy. For most people there should be no noise whatsoever. If you live in a noisy area or have loud roommates/family members, investing in a good pair of earplugs might be a good idea. Just make sure you’d be able to hear a fire alarm or other emergency noises, just in case.
- Digestion- Try your best not to eat anything 1 hour prior to going to bed. Sorry no midnight snacks either! If your blood sugar levels are raised too close to when you go to bed, you may have a burst of energy!
- Sweat it out- Exercising regularly can improve your quality of sleep. Try to end your workouts 3-4 hours prior to sleeping, as endorphins can keep you up. However a restorative yin yoga class is a great late evening exercise option, as it relaxes you and your muscles.
- Herbal remedies- Drinking chamomile tea before bed or spraying pure lavender oil onto your pillows can help. Certain herbs have natural calming abilities that can aid in restful sleeps. Incense or diffusers are a good idea too!
- Your space- Ultimately your room should be a relaxing, tidy sanctuary. If you have an unorganized space, this could lead to mental unease which might be linked to tossing and turning at night. Take some time to clean up your space, get rid of old things you don’t need or use anymore, wash your sheets and blankets and bring in a plant or something small that gives you positive vibes.