Good night's sleep

Want a good night’s sleep? Read these tips.

We all know that getting a good night’s sleep sets you up for a more productive day the next day but did you know that sleep plays a significant role in overall health and wellbeing? Getting good sleep contributes to mental, emotional, and physical wellness improves your quality of life, and contributes to longevity.

Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep starts earlier in the day. It’s essential to set yourself up for success with a daily routine that promotes good sleep. The first part of this is to consider creating a regular sleep schedule.

Wake up at the same time every day. Getting your body used to waking up the same time every day, whether on a weekday or a weekend, helps you get in the routine of a regular sleep pattern.

Go to sleep that same time every night. Making yourself a priority over a late night out, skipping sleep to study or exercise is vital to getting a good night’s sleep. The CDC recommends that a healthy adult needs seven or more hours of sleep per night for optimal health and wellbeing. Less than 7 hours of sleep put you at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and poor mental health.

To work out your optimal bedtime, work backward from your desired wake-up time to work out what time you need to be falling asleep to get your seven hours plus of sleep.

Don’t try to shift your schedule all at once. You may just end up getting frustrated and feeling worse. Take small steps towards your ideal schedule, perhaps shift by 30 minutes at a time.

Avoid naps. In his book, Why we Sleep, sleep expert, Matthew Walker, Ph.D., explains that during the day, our brain builds up the neurotransmitter, adenosine, which builds ‘sleep pressure’ and signals you to feel tired and sleepy. When you sleep, adenosine drops, so by taking a nap, you reduce the chances of falling asleep at your desired time at night. Our body’s circadian rhythm is regulated by melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain in response to darkness, and adenosine, both control our sleep.

sleep hygiene

Daytime habits for a good night’s sleep

Preparing for good sleep starts earlier in the day establishing healthy habits to set you up for success.

Get out in the daylight. Taking a walk or getting out in the sun encourages good circadian rhythms.

Avoid vigorous exercise within one hour of bedtime, says Harvard Health. Gentle exercise can help you fall asleep faster and increase deep sleep.

Avoid eating a big meal at least three hours before bedtime—especially a big, heavy or spicy meal. You could still be digesting when it’s bedtime. Some evidence does show that a light, healthy, snack before bed can help you sleep.

Avoid alcohol before bed. You may believe it helps you sleep, but data has shown that alcohol disrupts sleep quality and can leave you groggy and not well-rested the next day.

Avoid caffeine past lunchtime. Caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 7 hours. This means drinking a coffee at noon; you will still have 50% of the caffeine in your bloodstream from 5 pm to 7 pm. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors which is why you feel more alert after ingesting caffeine and why drinking caffeine late stops you from sleeping.

Did you also know that decaffeinated beverages still contain a small amount of caffeine?

Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors and therefore makes you feel less sleepy.

sleep hygiene

What about sleep hygiene for good sleep?

Setting up your environment and routine for the best night’s sleep possible is a good idea. Consider these ideas:

Have a consistent nightly routine. Perhaps putting on your pajamas, brushing your teeth, closing the curtains.

Unplug from electronics. Allow 30 to 60 minutes before bed to put away electronics, turn off the TV. The blue light from these devices hinders Melatonin production, and also the mentally stimulating nature of what you are reading or watching doesn’t help. How many times have you read an email last thing at night and not been able to get it out of your head?

Allow at least 30 minutes for wind-down time. Journal, gentle stretching, meditation, reading, or listening to calming music.

Keep your bed for sleep and sex – nothing else. If you regularly take your laptop to bed with you, your mind gets used to associating your bed with work, and it stops you from truly relaxing in the space.

Keep your bedroom cool. The optimal temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius), says the Sleep Foundation. A too warm room can affect sleep stages, leaving you feeling groggy and not well-rested.

Keep your room dark. This encourages melatonin production, which will help you sleep. Use heavy curtains or an eye mask. Consider blocking the light from alarm clocks or other light sources.

We can do so much to improve our sleep and, therefore, our overall health. Many of my clients are struggling with midlife sleep on top of realizing that it’s time to make changes to improve their health.

Connect with me if you need help on your journey to increased health, happiness, and well-being.

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