Sleep is a fundamental key to our health and our success. Â Itâ€™s vastly underrated and undervalued, and Iâ€™m going to keep hammering that point. Â Being tired is just the bodyâ€™s way of saying… â€śyo, dumb dumb… go to bed already. Â I have a lot of repairs so you can be ready for tomorrow.â€ť
Habits are by far our best friends and worst enemies. Â The fact that you are even reading this is proof that you care about your health. Â Well, Iâ€™m here to tell you that habits, not will power will make all the difference. Â Awareness and discipline when life is going smoothly, will create habits that see us through the crappy times. Â This is true with everything, including sleep!
1. Â Get Physical
Even if youâ€™re working out 4 times a week, donâ€™t completely skip your off days. Â On those off days, youâ€™ll reduce your stress and sleep much better by being active. Â Sometimes it helps to add little life hacks to make it happen. Â For example, when I lived in St Paul, the Como Zoo was on my way to work. Â Itâ€™s a free zoo and the Timberwolves were located on an outside fence. Â Without going into the park, I could walk the fence each morning and interact with the wolves without anyone else around. Â It was something I looked forward to each day, and I actually got to be buds with the big alpha male.
2. Stay Out of the Kitchen
Donâ€™t drink or eat anything within 2 hours before bed. Â It works best to have a cut off time. Â If you plan on going to bed at 10pm, then draw a hard line in the sand at 8pm. Â Sugar can drastically affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Â I know how easy it is to sit in front of the tube and have a cup of tea, can of bee,r or glass of wine to unwind before bed, but we both know your bladder will come a knockinâ€™. Â The beer and wine are double trouble, since the alcohol will negatively affect your sleep cycle. Â Have the drink with dinner, not before bed.
3. Temperature, Temperature, Temperature
A warm bath or shower will help you relax and the increased temperature induces sleep. Â On the flip side, even if youâ€™re a hot freak, your bedroom should be on the cool side. Â Your body will drop itâ€™s internal thermostat at night, and thereâ€™s a limit to how much clothes and blankets you can shed. Â Keep your room cooler and add a blanket or 2… socks too.
4. Â Light, Lights, Lights
We are just not designed for 24 hour daylight, but thatâ€™s exactly whatâ€™s going on. Â Melatonin in our bodyâ€™s sleep juice, and unlike Dracula, itâ€™s not just afraid of the sun. Â Itâ€™s not practical or realistic to avoid all sources of artificial light when the sun goes down, but you can take simple steps that will make a huge difference. Â Turn down the lights as it gets closer to bedtime, and turn off everything with a screen at least 90 minutes before lights out. Â Use nightlights in the bathroom so you donâ€™t have to blast yourself with 300 watts at 2am. Â Take extra steps to insure your bedroom is completely dark. Â Simply being aware of just how important light is to your sleep quality is the first step.
5. Â Relax
â€śBut the TV is how I relax!â€ť Â Lots of us were brought up on high doses of pre-bedtime TV and itâ€™s just so darn easy to have it on. Â However, studies have shown that all our bright screens, including the TV, affect sleep (see point #4). Â Since the TV, the computer, and the Ipad is off for the night, you have time for that warm bath and some reading. Â If tomorrowâ€™s to-doâ€™s are running thru your mind, then write it all down quick and put it away. Â Meditate, talk, stretch, listen to music (not that kind of music), pray, reflect, journal… relax.
We all get busy and take sleep for granted, but itâ€™s every bit as important as what we eat. Â Itâ€™s critical that we take our sleep seriously, and make a conscious effort to form great sleep habits.
What are some tips you have for a great nights sleep?