Sleep is probably one of the most important aspects of your health. It can affect your immune system, metabolism, memory, learning, motor skills, alertness, and even exercise performance. If you're having trouble sleeping through the night or feeling rested in the mornings, it may be time to evaluate your sleeping habits.
Are your habits conducive to good quality sleep, or hindersome? Find out what you can do to improve your sleep with these five lifestyle tips.
1. Be consistent with your bedtime.
Consistency is key for your internal clock and sleep drive. This is a lot easier when you have a full-time job, but it's important for everyone. So, even if you don't have any pressing matters to wake up for, create a consistent bedtime for yourself and only break it on special occasions. This will help you fall asleep faster and actually sleep deeper at night, so that you wake up feeling rested.
2. Avoid bright white lights before bed.
This includes smartphones, laptop screens, televisions, and tablets. Set your devices to automatic lighting, so that they'll dim in the dark. Studies have found that constant exposure to bright lights at night can suppress melatonin levels, which your body relies on to determine the time of day. If you're trying to stay awake all night, keep the lights on. Other studies show that exposing yourself to too much light at night can trick your body into thinking that it's day time, throwing off your internal clock.
3. Learn to associate your bed with sleep.
Train your body to sleep when you get in bed. If you can't fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed. Go to another room and read, do some pillar holds, or stretch, then try again. Same goes for waking up in the middle of the night. Once your body learns to associate your bed with sleep, you'll be able to fall asleep faster.
4. Get a sleep cycle alarm clock.
Gone are the days of relying on single-purpose alarm clocks. If you use your smartphone to wake you up every morning, consider a sleep cycle alarm clock app. It works by monitoring your movements during the night to measure your sleep patterns. With this information, it can wake you up during your light sleep phase rather than pulling you out of deep sleep, which is the restorative sleep that we need so badly. I tested a few apps, and these were my favorite: