We’ve all had those mornings. Mornings where the alarm goes off so early you thought it lost track of time. Eyes half open you stumble about, readying yourself for another day filled with yawns, lattes, and more yawns. Running on fumes you wonder just how much more efficient you’d be if only you could get more quality sleep.
So why can’t you?
Has the internal narrative started yet? The voice that says, “I don’t have time for more sleep. There are barely enough hours in the day as it is.” Well, lucky for you we’ve saved you some time by sifting through some of the best sleep research out there. Dishing it up on digital platter, we bring you some of the best tips and tricks for maximizing your beauty rest.
Discover your ideal sleep schedule.
Find a week when your schedule permits you to trial different sleep and wake times. Without setting an alarm clock go to bed at the same time each of the seven nights and allow yourself to wake up naturally. As you keep this routine, your natural sleep schedule will begin to emerge.
Boost melatonin levels at night.
If you prefer to fall asleep with the television on, try listening to music as an alternative. While television may seem like a relaxing way to end the night TV actually stimulates the mind. Light from a digital device, such as a television, also reduces the production of melatonin, the body’s naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Try boosting melatonin levels by disconnecting from digital devices an hour before bed.
Develop relaxing bedtime rituals.
Much like the heart requires a cool down period after an intense workout, so too does your mind and body after a busy day. Taking some time to unwind before bed is crucial whether it be to read another chapter in your favorite book, take a warm bath, or even do some light stretching.
Practice relaxation techniques at night.
The moment your head hits the pillow close your eyes and visualize a calm and peaceful place. Taking slow deep breaths, in and out, making each breath deeper than the last. Beginning with your toes tense each muscle as tightly as you can and then relax so deeply you feel as though you’re sinking into the bed. Continue this exercise until you’ve reached the top of your head.
Create a good sleeping environment.
There are endless distractions standing between you and a good night’s rest. The streetlight that spills into your bedroom, Fido rearranging to find the perfect spot at the foot of your bed, or the summer heat that somehow made it into your room while you slept. All of these elements could be part of the reason you’re not getting the sleep you deserve. Try eliminating these distractions and others. Try sleeping in a quiet, dark room with your room set to the sleep-recommended 24 degrees Celsius.
Avoid large meals before bed.
You may not think the hamburger and fries you ate two hours ago would be the reason you can’t sleep, but indigestion could be what is keeping you up. It’s suggested large meals not be consumed within two hours of bedtime. On the contrary going to bed on an empty stomach may have you tossing and turning before retreating to the refrigerator for a midnight snack. If you do get a late night craving try a glass of milk. It contains a natural chemical called, L-tryptophan, which is know to help you sleep.
Exercise for 30 minutes.
Getting as little as 20 – 30 minutes of total daily activity can help promote sleep, in addition to its many added health benefits. This could be a brisk walk around the mall, yoga, or even gardening. A later afternoon workout is ideal since the body temperature rises during activity and can retain heat up to six hours after. Warm temperatures are not conducive for quality sleep; therefore, it’s important to allow the body ample time to cool off before bedtime.
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