Good sleep is essential for a healthy and productive life. Our cells and muscles repair, our immune systems strengthen, and our minds focus, problem solve and remember things better when we’ve gotten enough rest (to name a few examples).
The sad thing is, sleep deprivation and exhaustion is the norm for many of us, and we often end up relying on stimulants like caffeine to wake us up in the morning and depressants like alcohol to calm us down at night.
Why is this?
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5 Things You May be Doing That are Stealing Your Zzz’s.
1) Not getting enough sunlight during the day.
Natural sunlight exposure is important for helping your body maintain a normal circadian rhythm—your body’s internal “clock” that helps you stay awake during the day and get sleepy at night. Try a 10-minute brisk walk at lunchtime.
2) Getting too much screen time.
Binge-watching television or overdosing on social media right before bed is sleep-disruptive in two ways: 1) the mental stimulation just isn’t relaxing, and 2) the excessive exposure to artificial blue light messes with your body’s circadian rhythm.
Tonight, try shutting off your television and phone at least an hour before bedtime and do something relaxing instead: read, wash the dishes, do a crossword, etc. This slows down your mind and helps you prepare for sleep.
3) Using your bedroom for things other than rest
When you walk into your bedroom, you should feel as if you’re entering a special relaxing place that’s free of work, television, social media, laundry, and so on. Anything that doesn’t involve sleep or relaxing should be kept out of the bedroom as much as possible.
4) Eating or exercise right before bed.
A lot of us have trouble falling or staying asleep because our blood sugar fluctuates too much or because our body temperature is too high, both of which can be brought on by late night exercise or rich foods. So, try not to eat or workout within three hours of bedtime, and consider keeping the temperature in your room to around 65 °F.
5) Sleeping with a night light.
Research shows that sleeping in a pitch black room helps the body enter a deeper state of rest. So, invest in some high-quality blackout curtains (it’s worth it!) and turn those night lights off!
Do you or someone you know toss and turn all night? Try these tips and let us know how the next few nights go!