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For many of us, 2020 was a challenging year. We experienced a lot of stressful situations. Worries and stress often kept us up at night. Now it’s a new year, and it’s time to get back to sleeping! Getting 7 to 9 hours or sleep per night is extremely important for our physical health, our energy levels, and even our mood. These are some of our best tips for better sleep in 2021.
One way to sleep better at night is to go out into the sunlight during the day. Whether you go outside or sit in front of a bright window, this sunlight will help you sleep. It’s because our sleep and wake cycle is controlled by a hormone called melatonin. In the evening, melatonin increases in our bodies and we feel tired. Bright sunlight signals to your body that it’s daytime, and this reduces melatonin in the body. Getting sunlight in the daytime will increase your daytime energy and help you sleep at night.
Reduce Screen Time
Another source of light is your screen. This blue light from your phone, computer, or TV can signal to your body that it’s still daytime. This prevents the increase in melatonin you need to feel sleepy! We recommend turning off your screens at least 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, as well as using blue light filters on your devices.
Avoid Evening Caffeine
Most people are sensitive to caffeine. If you’re drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks in the late afternoon or evening, try substituting caffeine-free options. Caffeine increases energy and can make it much harder for you to relax or sleep in the evening.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a nightcap, but alcohol can have a negative impact on your sleep. Alcohol can also increase snoring or symptoms of sleep apnea. Having a drink before bed might make you fall asleep faster, but you’ll wake up more times in the night, and you won’t get enough deep sleep during the night. If you’re having a hard time sleeping, try restricting your alcohol intake, and limit the amount of alcohol you have in the evenings.
Are you using naps to catch up on sleep? This might seem like a good idea, but having long naps in the day can actually make it very difficult for you to fall asleep at night. Your internal clock can get confused by long or irregular daytime napping. It’s ok to have short naps of under 20 minutes, but avoid long daytime naps.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Another way to get better sleep this year is to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Our bodies like routines. So one way to get a better sleep is by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends or holidays. After a few weeks, you’ll notice that you start feeling tired at the same time every night, and you’ll start naturally waking up at the same time every morning. You might not even need your alarm in the morning.
Set Aside Time to Relax
Are you getting into bed without having time to unwind after a long day? It’s important to add some relaxation time to your schedule. You can develop a routine that helps you relax before bed, such as listening to soothing music, reading a book, practicing some deep breathing, meditating, or taking a bath.
Create the Perfect Sleeping Environment
Is your room a cozy and relaxing space? There are a few things you should consider about your sleeping environment. You want to make sure the room is quiet, and that you turn off any music or background noise. Next, get darkening blinds so you can block out any external light. Finally, turn down the heat at night. The ideal sleeping temperature is from 60 to 67 degrees.
Make Sure You Don’t Have a Sleep Disorder
If you’ve tried all these tips and you’re still not getting a great night’s sleep, contact us for a consultation. A sleep test can rule out a sleep disorder or anything else that’s keeping you awake. Together we’ll make sure you can start 2021 with great sleep.