With so many things on our “to do” lists everyday it can be quite challenging to fit in time for our own personal needs. Sounds crazy, right? But many of us aren’t doing that. Taking care of our own health and wellness before anything else should be the most important thing we do. Nutrition, exercise and rest are three vital components to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that in America,more than 40% of the population are getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
According to the American Sleep association, a lack of sleep has a direct correlation to poor health and cognitive impairment. Ever notice how you feel after a good night’s rest in comparison to when you tossed and turned all night?
It is Sleep Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to start incorporating these 5 simple sleep tips.
Sleep Schedule – Just like we train babies to sleep using a set schedule, we will benefit from the same type of sleep training. Pick a time that works for you and stick to it every night, as closely as you can.
Exercise – Be sure to get in at least 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days. Our bodies were made to move and when we move more during the day we can rest better at night. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and tire our body out – two great reasons to start moving more today.
Eat balanced meals – Food can trigger sleep patterns. When you eat well balanced meals fruits, vegetables and lean proteins your body will use the nutrients while you sleep to repair and restore what it needs. As nice as it can seem to have that drink before bed, alcohol can wreak havoc on sleep causing us to wake up multiple times throughout the night never getting a solid rest.
Disconnect – This is probably the toughest one for most of us. In our world, we are connected 24/7. The phone, lap top, television, iPad, with so many devices it can be a challenge to disconnect. Try for 7 straight days to put ALL electronics away at least 30 minutes before bedtime and do something else like read a book or write in journal before bed instead of surfing the web and responding to emails. The light from our phones mimics the light of the sun which tells our brain to stop producing melatonin which is a hormone that helps tell our body when it’s day and when it’s night.
Breathe – Many studies have shown that stress affects sleep habits. When we are stressed, our body releases more of the hormone cortisol which creates the fight or flight response and makes it very challenging for us to sleep. Not to mention excess cortisol can increase fat retention and make us feel more hungry (midnight munchies). Take a moment right now and breathe. Close your eyes, relax your face, breathe deeply and repeat a simple mantra like, “Let go, be free” or focus on something you are thankful for in the moment. Learning to free ourselves of life’s stressors can drastically improve our sleep.
Let us know which sleep tip helps you the most in the comments below.