Sleep is essential for both your mind and body. It allows your muscles to relax and your body to heal itself. During sleep, your mind has a chance to replenish its reserves and help you optimize your mental facilities for the next day. Stress and other challenging emotions can wear you down, but it’s the reparative properties of sleep that allow you to maintain your defenses.
Studies show better mental health and quality sleep are interconnected. We’ve all heard or even made a comment about a grumpy coworker, friend, or family member waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Without 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep, the unreleased tension can cause more than just frequent yawning, drowsiness, or a short temper. Other side effects and health concerns, like fatigue, can all be tied to not enough sleep or poor nighttime habits.
Getting better rest is key to weight loss, muscle growth, and more. To learn how you can improve your overall quality of life, check out our top 5 tips for healthier sleep and start living stronger today.
1. Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at irregular intervals can play a major role in your day-to-day fatigue and lack of motivation. Supporting our body’s natural rhythm by forming a healthy sleep cycle helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. While sleeping in late may feel amazing from time to time, studies show too much sleep can lead to more harm than good over time. Consistency is key!
2. Maintain a Nighttime Ritual
Part of sticking to a consistent sleep schedule might be to have a daily bedtime ritual. A relaxing bath, breathing exercises, aromatherapy, or calming music can help signal to your brain that you’re getting ready to fall asleep. This helps your mind transition from being alert and prepared for the day to relaxed and ready for rest. Your nighttime ritual can also help you decompress after a long day with some rewarding self-care.
3. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Before Bed
If you enjoy coffee and other caffeinated beverages throughout your day, you could be contributing to your midday grogginess. Caffeine’s stimulatory effects are an excellent morning pick-me-up that can leave you too keyed up to sleep if consumed in the evenings.
Alcohol also affects the quality of your sleep. Alcoholic beverages are considered a depressant, meaning they inhibit your thoughts and senses. According to a study published by the Research Society on Alcoholism, alcohol induces an irregular sleep cycle that can leave you more tired than refreshed the morning after. Consider trying other substances, like CBD oil or melatonin, to alleviate insomnia and reduce stress instead of that drink or two before bed.
4. Exercise During the Day, Not Night
Reaping the most benefits of your workout regimen means avoiding nighttime runs and trips to the gym. Like a healthy sleep cycle, frequent exercise is key to a stronger mind and body. Sleep and exercise have a symbiotic relationship with one another: while sleep gives you the energy you need to exercise, research shows that insomniacs who work out fall asleep faster.
Exercise and caffeine both cause a stimulatory response in the body. Working out increases your alertness as your heart pumps more blood to other parts of your body. Firing on all cylinders right before bed means your body will take longer to settle down and prepare for rest, making sleep more difficult. For a better night’s rest, try working out as part of your morning or afternoon routine to help get you ready to face the day.
5. Create A Restful Bedroom Environment
A space that is loud, bright, or uncomfortable is difficult to fall asleep in. To maximize your bedroom environment and make it more conducive to sleep, remove any distractions before bed—including cell phones. Adults and teenagers who limit their screen time before bed get better sleep. Electronic screens use blue lights that make it difficult for our brains to transition from wakefulness to rest mode. If you already have a difficult time falling asleep, avoiding your tablet or cell phone can save you time and help you fall asleep faster.
A supportive mattress and comfortable bed sheets may also be required to improve your sleep. If your mattress is too hard or soft, you might find yourself tossing and turning all night and waking up sore. Knowing what to look for when it comes to shopping for a mattress and following these tips on how to choose the best bed sheets can help you determine what best suits your nighttime needs.