The most effective sleep habits that can improve your health and well-being

Sleep plays a big role in appetite control, muscle recovery, and the body’s immune response. You need to get the right amount and quality of sleep so you can move effectively, think clearly, and balance your eating. You spend one-third of your day sleeping to effectively prepare your mind and body for the next day. Always prioritize getting quality sleep. During a normal sleep cycle, different systems in your body work to release and balance the hormones, repair the damaged cells and tissues, and stimulate essential brain functions. 

Here are the most effective strategies that you can do from the moment you wake up until you go to bed  at night so you can  get seven to eight hours of the much needed quality sleep 

Create a good sleep environment and eliminate distractions

  • Invest in a good bed with perfect pillows that can enhance your sleep experience. You don’t want to experience discomfort from a stiff neck or backache that may disrupt your sleep.
  • Fix a constant room temperature for your most comfortable sleep.
  • Eliminate distracting sounds that might wake you up like appliance noise (air conditioner or electric fan) or electronic devices and manage environmental sounds (animals, cars, and neighbors) by soundproofing your windows. Wear earplugs when needed.
  • Avoid sleeping with your television or devices on because these devices emit blue light that affects melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you sleepy.
  • Try to sniff lavender oil, the most frequently used aromatherapy oil for sleeping because of its relaxing effects.
  • Exposure to food at night can trigger cravings. Do not put a mini-fridge inside your room. If you are watching a movie, avoid the habit of late-night snacking. Eating close to your bedtime can negatively affect your sleep and weight. Avoid eating two to three hours before you sleep. That’s why it is a good habit to brush your teeth right after dinner.
  • Keep your phone, laptop, or tablet away from you right before you sleep. Set a limit for web surfing, social media activities, and job tasks like checking or responding to emails.

Devote time for activities that can help you sleep better

  • Devote time for self-care evening routines that can make you sleep better like taking a relaxing bath, putting on your facial and skincare products, and wearing your most comfortable nightwear.
  • End the day with your favorite nighttime hobbies like journal writing, reading your favorite book, meditating, praying, listening to your favorite mellow playlist, or watching a movie (Ideally less than one hour).
  • Spend some time to chat with your spouse/kids with a good night kiss and hug. Avoid thinking about your work and other tasks for the next day. Then just relax and enjoy the rest of the night.
  • Sleep with your spouse and go to bed at the same time if possible, to feel the much-needed comfort that can help both of you sleep better.

Condition your body throughout the day for a restful sleep

  • Get enough formal exercise (cardio, strength, core, and flexibility) to stimulate your heart and muscles for at least 30 minutes a day.  Progress by increasing the exercise duration and intensity as you get stronger. Continue to move more during the day by doing lifestyle activities like household chores, outdoor errands, and lifestyle walking. Studies show that exercise and movement can improve the amount and quality of sleep.
  • Avoid intense exercises like fast running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and heavyweight training three hours before your bed time. If you will exercise in the evening, choose light to moderate intensity workouts like Pilates, yoga, dance, light to moderate resistance, and core training. 
  • Limit afternoon naps to 30 minutes a day. Excessive afternoon naps can negatively affect your sleep schedule. 
  • Eat healthy foods that can improve your sleep like nuts, yogurt, milk, healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Avoid drinking too much water two hours before you sleep. This will prevent you from waking up to urinate during the night.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol. It is a depressant, but can greatly affect your sleep quality.  In addition, it can affect your exercise performance and control over eating the next day.

Manage your day to avoid stressful thoughts at night

  • As soon as you wake up, create a schedule for your day and try your best to follow it. Include your sleep schedule and try your best to stick to it. But be flexible and make sure to always have alternative plans. Consistently creating goals and plans for the day can lessen confusion, worries, and stress during the day.
  • Set aside some time to fix and plan for your next day. You can do it anytime before you formally end your workday, but not during bedtime.
  • Communicate with your family regarding the importance of rest and sleep, so you can all work together as a team to make the healthy sleep habit part of your lifestyle.
  • If something is bothering you, talk to your spouse, family member, or friend. Express strong emotions that can affect your sleep.
  • If you have some serious sleep issues, consult a sleep specialist that can recommend sleep supplements, therapy, and other important treatments.

Email the author at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @mitchfelipemendoza

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