Tips for Better Sleep

Dr. Dan JensenSleep

Dr. Dan Jensen
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Have you been sleeping soundly? Getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night is important for your body, mind, and overall well being. If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, you may experience fatigue, irritability, and moodiness. You won’t be as productive as you’d like, and you’ll struggle to stay focused on tasks. Poor sleep can even compromise your immune system and increase your risk of weight gain! If you haven’t been sleeping enough, here are a few tips for better sleep.

Find Your Natural Circadian Rhythm

We all have a natural circadian rhythm, or the time our body naturally goes to sleep and wakes up. Our body mostly take cues from the sun, and when the sun sets our body produces melatonin to relax and slow down. When the sun rises, we experience a boost in energy and wakefulness. Each person has a slightly different ideal waking and sleeping time, so find out what yours is, then start going to bed and getting up at that time every day, even on weekends. This routine will help you fall asleep easily and get a good night’s sleep every night.

Think About Light

Light signals to your body if it should be awake or asleep, so think about the light you’re exposed to. During the day, make sure you’re exposed to bright sunlight. When you first wake up, this sunlight will halt the production of melatonin, and make you more alert. Drink your morning cup of coffee on the deck, or eat breakfast near a bright window. If you’re struggling to concentrate at work, take your lunch break outside in the sun, and feel more energetic in the afternoon.

In the evening, limit the amount of light you’re exposed to. Avoid bright light from your computer, TV, or phone and use a blue light filter or computer glasses. Keep screens out of the bedroom, and turn off all your electronic devices an hour before bedtime. This will help your body produce melatonin, and help you fall asleep easily.

Get Active

Did you know that being active during the day will help you sleep at night? Spend 30 minutes a day doing some kind of physical activity, whether it’s going to the gym, doing yoga, or even just going for a walk. Exercise increases your metabolism, and raises your body temperature. This will help you stay alert during the day, and have more energy.

Exercising just before bed will make it harder for you to fall asleep, so plan to finish your workout three hours before you plan to sleep. If you’re feeling stiff before bed, doing some gentle stretches can help relax your muscles and get to sleep easily.

Eat Well

What you eat also impacts your sleep, so if you’ve been having trouble sleeping, take a close look at your diet. An obvious habit that can affect your sleep is drinking coffee. If you drink many cups of coffee per day, limiting your caffeine intake will have a positive effect on your sleep. Avoid drinking coffee in the late afternoon and evening, and save your coffee for the morning. Alcohol can also affect sleep, and if you drink heavily before bed, you’re more likely to have a disturbed sleep.

When you eat is very important to your sleep. Large meals right before bed, or dinners with very heavy foods can make it harder to fall asleep. Try to eat your largest meal at lunch time, and eat moderately in the evening. Sugary or carb-heavy foods can also make it difficult to sleep, so eat well to sleep better.

Relax and Clear Your Mind

After you’re turned off your phone for the night, take some time to relax and clear your mind before getting into bed. Let go of the stress of the day, and don’t worry about the next day. Some deep breathing exercises or a short meditation can help you relax. You could also take a hot bath, read a good book, or listen to some calming music. Whatever you do, spend the last hour or your day relaxing, and enjoy a great night’s sleep.

Try these tips for better sleep, and find ways you can get a great night’s sleep each and every night.