Sleep. I know that you most likely already know that sleep is VERY important, not just to let your body rest and recover, but also because it helps us focus, regulate our hormones, and limits our risk for chronic illness.
Those who don’t get enough sleep can typically see weight gain (or already be overweight), have hormonal imbalances, struggle with their mental health, and a lot more! Not to mention, lack of sleep makes us… well, exhausted!
I’m not posting this today to tell about how important sleep is. We all know that! But how do we get better sleep? Here are some tips for you!
Creating a sleep routine
A sleep what….? Yes, a routine! If you create a routine around your bedtime and keep it consistent, then your body will start to catch on and start “winding down” automatically. Basically, when you start creating and practicing this habit, your body will start to release hormones to calm you down before bedtime and stimulating hormones to wake you up in the morning.
This routine can include things like getting ready for bed, reading, journaling, stretching, meditating… basically whatever helps you to wind down.
Brain dumping is a tactic you can use if you’re feeling so stressed out that you can’t fall asleep. It is basically journaling. Spend a few minutes just writing out whatever is stressing you out or even the things you need to do tomorrow that you need to remember. This can help clear your mind!
It is also key to limit your electronic use starting thirty minutes before bedtime. Devices stimulate our brains instead of relaxing it. If this is absolutely not an option for you (like if you use your tablet or phone to read your book), then adjust the lighting of your screen to make it darker. Apple products have features where we can change the temperature of our screens from cool to warm depending on the time of the day and that is supposed to help us wind down for bed.
Lastly, make sure you optimize your sleep environment. It’s super important to try to stay as regular as possible, both for when you go to bed and for when you wake up. It can be a struggle, especially if you have kids, but try your best!
Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and large meals before bedtime
I know, I know. Limiting all the good stuff. Normally I don’t preach limitation but this is important to understand!
Alcohol can disrupt your sleep pattern. We have different phases or cycles of sleep. Our true restorative sleep happens in the deep sleep phase, but if you drink too much alcohol (I’m talking more than 1-2 drinks) before you go to bed, it will disturb that deep sleep.
The same exact thing happens with caffeine so if you follow a typical sleep schedule (sleep at night), then try to limit your caffeine intake after 2 pm.
Lastly, try to not eat a large meal right before bedtime because it can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. I know sometimes we can’t help it if we get off of work late and are totally starving. I’ve been guilty of this, too! Just only do it when necessary.
How you wake up is JUST as important!
If you get punched in the face in the morning with a crazy loud alarm, then chances are you’re going to feel groggy and have problems getting your day started. That’s why it is recommended to use an alarm that will play soft music and gradually get louder to peacefully bring you out of your slumber.
You’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now, but I have actually tried this and it makes my mornings so much easier! If you have an iPhone, you can set an alarm like this in your clock app, but instead of using the alarm part of it, use the bedtime part. You can even decide which sound you want to wake up to.
Another recommendation is using a sleep tracking app for your watch so you can be awakened when you’re in a light sleep phase. I have also tried this and it works, but I have yet to find an app that doesn’t drain my Apple Watch battery and I need my watch for work so it can’t be dying on me during the day!
One last thing… DO. NOT. HIT. THAT. SNOOZE. BUTTON. Just put your feet on the ground and get up. Hitting snooze over and over again will do more damage as far as feeling rested! Especially if you press snooze on the iPhone… nine minutes is not enough time for a full sleep cycle, therefore you won’t feel that great by the time your alarm goes off again.
Not to mention… it’s just rude to hit the snooze button over and over if you have someone sleeping next to you.
Hopefully this gave you some good ideas about what you can do to get more restorative sleep and wake up ready to take on the day!
If you already put any of these tips into practice, comment below and share with us what is working for you!
I wear a lot of hats: NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. A writer with a B.A. in English and Professional Writing. A fur mom and a wife. A mental health advocate and a septic shock survivor. An Airman and an athlete. I live in South Florida and am in love with the ocean. People can typically find me either in the gym or at home, writing or reading.