Sleeping should be a priority, but did you know only 25% of Americans get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night?
I know the benefits of sleeping, but just like the other 75% of Americans I sometimes put sleep last. I really do need about 7 to 8 hours to feel like myself and well-rested though.
Since sleeping can fall to the end of my to-do list some days; I remember the following two things and reevaluate.
“No single behavior more fundamentally influences our effectiveness in waking life than sleep… sleep may well be more critical to our well being than diet, exercise and even heredity.” – Tony Schwartz, President and CEO of The Energy Project
A study showed getting just a little more sleep had a greater effect on a person’s state of mind than a large increase in income. — University of Michigan
I know getting into a habit of sleeping more can be tough though. Before implementing any of the 10 tips below, remind yourself it’s worth sleeping 8 hours. You will feel better and be more productive when you are awake by being well-rested. Sleeping at least 6-8 hours also helps keep your hormones and immune system balanced.
10 Tips to Have You Sleeping Better
1. Exercise — Any extra activity has been proven to help you sleep. Since I started working, my workouts have been cut down dramatically. Instead of a 60 minute cardio day, I have about 30 minutes. In order to combat the change, I am doing a harder intensity workout like ChaLEAN Extreme, TurboFire HIIT or Insanity. Within 15-40 minutes I have gotten in a whole body workout! If you need help picking a workout check out my fitness page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I’d be happy to help.
2. Chamomile Tea Over Wine — When I stressed over a huge test the next day in college, I would drink a 4oz glass of red wine. While I still will have a glass every now and then, I have switched to Chamomile tea on a nightly basis. Wine does make me sleepy (even 40z) , but it has been shown to interrupt deeper sleep cycles. Chamomile tea, on the other hand, can help you fall and stay asleep longer. My favorite is Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time collection.
3. Turn It Off — Our computer, television, and phone emit a bright light that tricks our brain into thinking it’s the middle of day. Even if I am super tired and up past my bed time, I can’t fall asleep immediately if I have been using technology. Turn everything off 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed to sleep better.
4. Keep the Room Dark — This seems fairly easy to understand after the advice about turning off any electronic devices, but I have had so many bright alarm clocks! If you have a bright clock throw a towel over it for a couple nights and see if you sleep better.
5. Don’t Check the Time Once You are in Bed — Have you ever had this conversation in your head: “I have 4 more hours to sleep….I have 3 hours and 30 minutes….Great! Now I only have 2 more hours to sleep” ? It will drive you crazy and stress you out. Just avoid the clock and try to picture something calming in your mind.
6. Check the Temperature — Research has found we sleep better when the temperature is below 68 degrees. I keep the house at a chilly 54 degrees at night and snuggle up with a heavy blanket. You don’t have to be that “polar bear” if you don’t want, but you want to aim for the 60s.
7. Cut Caffeine Off 8 Hours Before Bed — This is so hard for me! I am addicted to caffeine even after giving up Diet Coke. Instead of my normal tea and carbohydrate afternoon snack I am adding more protein to give myself a pick-me-up. I am not sure if if I have more energy, but I guess I am pretty pooped by 9:30 now.
8. Good Fitting Pajamas — Forget looking like a Victoria’s Secret model when you go to bed, be comfortable! I love my old t-shirts, and I will never give them up!
9. Create a Ritual— Picking a way to wind down has been the most helpful to me. I like to write down something about my day–worries, accomplishments, things I am thankful for, etc and then read a Bible verse. That’s just my way of relaxing, but you could take a bath, drink a cup of tea, or listen to music.
10. Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Day — It never failed, I would adjust to my 9pm-5am sleeping schedule and then have a break. Within 2 or 3 days, I would be going to bed at 12am and getting up at 9am. Then I would struggle to go to bed early again. In order to keep your inner clock right, go to bed within 2 hours of your typical bedtime on the weekends and get up no later than 2 hours past normal wake up call.