2020 was full of unpredictable surprises and challenges that might have made quality sleep elusive. But, there’s no better time than a new year to reset fresh, healthy habits – and when it comes to wellness, quality sleep is just as essential as physical activity and a nutrient-dense diet. The key to getting more sleep is to create consistent routines for the body to track against. Try starting with these tips:
1.) Maximize Daylight Activity
A simple way to teach the mind and body to rest in the evening is to maximize physical exertion during the day. It trains the mind to associate sunlit hours with productivity, and it exhausts energy during a key portion of waking hours. This naturally sets the body’s circadian rhythm to align with the beginning and the end of the day.
2.) Create an Ideal Sleeping Environment
Invest in quality bedding. Unstructured mattresses and pillows often fail to provide proper support, inducing body pain that immediately impacts both ends of the sleep-wake cycle. From there, utilize sheets and blankets that facilitate comfort – perhaps they are cooling, soft, or weighted. To further reinforce sleep-positivity and reduce sleep disruption, block out light and eliminate noise wherever possible.
3.) Tweak Evening Consumption Habits
Allow the body to relax at night by avoiding caffeine, heavy meals, or alcohol late in the day. These items hinder the organic shut down process by putting the body back to work – with a jolt of energy, a lengthy digestion process, or by interfering with the natural release of melatonin.
4.) Establish a Pre-Sleep Routine
An established pre-sleep routine sends signals to the mind, letting the body know it’s time to wind down. Instead of heading straight to bed each night, take a moment to dim the lights, listen to tranquil music, apply soothing creams to the face and body, or anything else that relaxes the body and eases the mind.
5.) Follow a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Continue forming a routine by following a regular sleep schedule every day – even weekends. Budget 7-8 hours a night for sleep, and pick a fixed wake-up time to stick to each day. Try to avoid napping, and make any necessary changes little by little to avoid major shifts that can throw off the body’s new programming.
For more tips on wellness and sleep management, contact your health insurance provider to find a personal doctor near you.