5 Tips for Better Sleep
Your health depends on getting enough sleep. At least seven hours a night (though eight is ideal) helps you manage stress, fight disease, burn fat, and regulate your appetite— just to name a few benefits. Get any less shut-eye than that, and you’re asking for trouble, beyond just feeling wiped out by midday. It’s just not worth it. Make sleep a priority with these simple guidelines:
1. Establish a sleep routine, and stick to it. Quit staying up so late! I mean it. Ditch the late-night binge-watching or whatever’s keeping you from shutting things down until the wee hours. Digital stimulation is especially detrimental because it leaves you wired long after you log off. My kids need a book or three read to them before bed. Sometimes it’s a glass of warm milk. So, along those lines, try reading for one hour before bed, or writing in a journal. Or wind down with a cup of chamomile tea (it’s naturally caffeine free). Whatever it takes. Then repeat every night until going to sleep at a set time becomes a habit.
2. Don’t bring your work to bed. Aside from the negative consequences I mentioned above of staring at a computer screen too close to bedtime, working from a place that’s supposed to be your sanctuary will stress you out. If you must work from home, do it in a comfy spot outside of the bedroom, then close up shop at least an hour before turning in for the night. You’ll be better able to exercise your brain in the morning anyway.
3. Keep the room dark. Whether or not you’re bothered by light filtering in from a streetlamp in front of your window or the blinking light from your phone charging station next to the bed, you will get a better night’s sleep when you block out those distractions. Use blackout shades or curtains, and move the phone to another room.
4. Make a to-do list. Can’t keep your mind from racing as you lie awake in bed? Remove any anxieties by making a list of all the things you need to do the following day. Make sure it’s doable! This keeps you organized and gives you a game plan you’ll be ready to tackle in the a.m.
5. Try a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your natural sleep and wake cycles. If you frequently wake up in the middle of the night (and don’t have a known condition like sleep apnea), your melatonin levels might be low. Talk to your doctor about taking a melatonin supplement to help give you those much-needed zzz’s.