Sleeping is a cornerstone of health. You can have the healthiest habits imaginable, go to the gym, drink plenty of water, eat the healthiest foods, but without proper rest your body will fall apart and you will feel horrible. What’s worse, being tired makes you slower, less effective at school/work, and grouchy. Here are 9 solid tips to help you sleep better!
1. Good Sleep Takes Practice
The first thing that you must be aware of is that actually feeling rested after you sleep requires practice. Save for medication and astounding meditation skills there is very little you can do to change how restful your sleep is on any particular night. It’s going to take work and it’s going to take practice. Be prepared to be an absolute sleep athlete, putting in hours of practice before you learn how to have the perfect good night’s sleep.
2. Be Consistent
The best way to ensure you are sleeping well is to have a stable sleeping schedule. A sporadic 12 hours won’t be as restful as 6 hours that happen every day at the same time during the night. Now, this isn’t me saying that you can live off of four hours of sleep as long as they are consistently between 11PM and 3AM, but if you have a stable sleeping schedule you’ll feel better. Trust me.
3. Power Through Mornings
With the above tip out of the way it could be useful for you to learn that when you’re trying to create a consistent sleeping schedule, your wakeup time is more important than the time you go to bed. Try to keep your wake up time consistent, and experiment with your bedtime instead. To help you wake up at the same time every day – create a morning ritual. Your “morning brain” is your worst enemy. It’s lazy, unmotivated, and only cares about sleep. So, know exactly what you’re going to do when you wake up before you go to bed. Wake up, stretch, shower, brush teeth, have a cup of water, stretch again, get dressed, and by the time with that you should be awake enough to proceed with your day. Power through your mornings.
4. See Sunlight
Your body’s natural clock runs on how often and when it sees sunlight. For this reason it’s important that you spend at least an hour every day in direct sunlight. This could mean going out for a morning run, walking home after school/work, taking a walk at lunch, or whatever else works with your schedule. Being out in the sunlight helps your body know, “hey, it’s day time. This is the optimal time to be awake and active!”
5. Take Magnesium
Eat some bananas or nuts during the day to get some magnesium into your body. Magnesium is important for healthy, restful sleep cycles. Prepare some healthy snacks for yourself throughout the day and replenish magnesium levels consistently.
6. Stay Away from Fatty Foods
Stay away from fatty foods in the second half of the day. Fatty foods take much longer to digest, which will create extra work for your body to do. If you eat these kinds of foods several hours before going to bed your stomach will be doing heavy work while you’re asleep. This will result in you waking up feeling like you haven’t rested. Your brain needs rest, but your metabolism needs a bit of a break too!
7. Shut Down Your Metabolism
Following up on the previous point – let your metabolism slow down several hours before you go to bed. Try to avoid late dinners, try not to binge on snacks while you’re binging on your favorite Netflix show, and make sure you’re not drinking your daily norm of water right before you go to bed. Not only will water keep your metabolism running longer than it needs to be, but you’ll also wake up early because you’ll have to go to the bathroom. Try to cut down on food intake at least four hours before your bedtime.
8. Cut Down on Blue Light
Have you ever considered that because the sunset is usually red and pink, your body takes that as a sign it’s time to go to bed? Well, that’s more or less how it works! During the later hours of the day the amount of blue light is lower, which has been people’s bedtime signal for thousands of years. This means that shining your phone’s, tablet’s, and TV’s, and computer’s blue light in your face messes with that signal and keeps you awake longer. And even though both Android and iOS devices now have a dedicated “night mode”, it’s best to avoid technology at least an hour before you go to bed.
If all else fails and you find yourself not getting enough sleep – take a nap. A 20-25 minute nap can do wonders for your brain and help you stay focused on difficult and taxing tasks. In addition to this, taking a nap during the day will actually help you fall asleep at night. Sleep deprivation can make you exhausted, and severe exhaustion can actually cause insomnia.