Everyone knows that getting a good nights sleep is important, and in my case, CRUCIAL to feeling functional and alert for the next day. Those days where you wake up and just don't feel rested can make the rest of your day drag. In addition, research shows that sleep deprivation reduces our ability to focus and hinders our productivity levels during our day. Thankfully there are some really easy ways to get a great nights sleep.
A great starting place is to create a consistent sleep schedule - and stick to it. This allows our body to develop a routine so when that bedtime hour is coming our body has already started to wind down and prepare for sleep. Scientists have discovered that the most beneficial hours of sleep are between 10pm and 2am. Starting a night routine where you are getting to sleep around 10pm should definitely result in more energy and alertness for the next morning.
Of course, exercise plays a prominent role in getting a good nights sleep. This goes beyond just feeling tired after a workout because you've burned excess energy. Studies have shown that people that are more active report higher quality of sleep and lowered feelings of depression and anxiety. Exercise is also an excellent way to reduce stress, which we all know can wreck havoc on our ability to fall asleep at night. One thing to keep in mind is to get your workout in at least 4 hours before your projected bedtime. Exercising elevates your body temperature up to 4 hours post workout which can actually inhibit sleep. Once your body begins to "cool down" it sends a signal to your brain, producing melatonin which gives you that drowsy sleepy feeling.
Making sure your body is at the right temperature is crucial when it comes to sleeping. Keeping your thermostat between 65-72 degrees provides the optimum temperature for quality sleep. Like I mentioned earlier, that drop in temperature signals your body to produce melatonin, which is why getting into a cool bed after a warm shower, is such a relaxing sensation. Your body is signaling to your brain that its time to gear down and get ready for bed.
People that know me well know how much I value sleep and that I love a comfortable bed. One of my first priorities when settling into a new home is to make my bedroom a haven for comfort and sleep. I learned this from my mother, an interior designer, who emphasized the importance of creating a relaxing bedroom when moving into my first apartment after college. I do not put a TV in my room, nor do I keep my laptop in there specifically because I like my bedroom to be strictly for sleeping. It's also important to turn off all the lights in your room - all lights. This includes light from our phones - I keep my phone face down and on Do Not Disturb to avoid the flashes of light during the night when receiving a text or notification. By doing this, I've trained myself to relax as soon as I get into bed, making it easier to fall asleep without any distractions.
Try some of these ideas out this week and see if you can tell a difference! If you are having trouble sleeping and want to learn how our mental health services can help, give us a call today at (813) 340-6955.