For optimum health, quality and quantity of sleep is necessary, but many people don’t get the recommended amounts of sleep on a nightly basis. Sleeping regularly has positive effects on mood and mental sharpness, and can even help prevent certain diseases. If you have trouble sleeping or could be sleeping more hours in the week, try incorporating these habits of healthy sleepers into your routine.
A common practice in daily life that could be hindering your ability to fall asleep is lack of consistency. In order to sleep well, it is important to go to bed and wake up at the same time on a daily basis. Rather than spending the week packing every task possible into your day and going to bed later, make sure to set a specific time to wind down and go to bed. Stick to this routine rather than skimping during the week and binge sleeping on the weekend.
If you love your coffee, wine, candy or other substances that contain stimulants or depressants, try to avoid them well before bed. Ideally, you should refrain from these substances for about six hours before bedtime in order to keep them from affecting your ability to fall asleep. Caffeine and other stimulants can make it harder for you to wind down at the end of the day, so try to skip that cup of afternoon java, or switch to decaf later in the afternoon and evening. While many use alcohol to wind down, studies have shown that it acts as a stimulant for a short time after consumption, and you can be more susceptible to the effects when you drink later.
Decompress before going to bed
Although many people watch TV and read on electronic devices before bed, the lighting on these devices can actually disrupt your brain’s production of sleep hormones. Keep your pre-bedtime routine free of electronics, and do something else that helps you relax, such as taking a bath or reading a book. If you’re the type of person whose mind wanders, causing you to hinder your ability to sleep, try writing your thoughts in a journal, or practice meditating to help shut down your thoughts.
Turn your bedroom into a desirable sleep location
If your bedroom is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, you are doing yourself a disservice. Make sure that your room is quiet, free of distractions and relatively cool. Blackout curtains can help keep ambient light from disrupting your sleep, and they can keep early morning sun from rousing you awake too soon. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive as well.
The benefits of regular exercise are endless, and incorporating it into your routine can also help your sleep. Exercise helps to reduce stress, and studies have shown that it may strengthen your circadian rhythm. Getting regular exercise can help you expend some of your nervous energy, which may be hindering your sleep. Make sure you schedule your workout far enough in advance that you don’t overstimulate your brain right before bedtime. Try to allow at least two hours between exercise and bedtime.
Sleeping regularly and sleeping well are critical in maintaining health. Not only does sleep help your brain reset and your body repair itself, but it also helps you be more alert throughout the day.
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