We can all agree that sleep is important. Well I hope we can at least. The benefits of sleep are unquestionable. But an increasing amount of research indicates that when we don’t focus on sleep we lose out on other parts of our life. When we routinely get enough quality sleep good things happen. We’re much more likely to make healthy food choices, we eat more vegetables, and we experience far fewer cravings. When we don't get enough sleep our appetites are out of control, cravings run wild, our inflammation increases, and our will power tank decreases.
In short, when we get enough sleep, everything else has a tendency to fall into place. And getting enough good sleep may be the single best thing we can do to help ourselves keep up with nutrition, fitness, and weight goals.
Through personal experience and reading through tons of research I've rounded up 5 small tips that will help you improve your sleep quality.
1. Make A Bedtime
I feel like captain obvious by saying this. But it needs to be number one despite how easy it seems. Adults need a bedtime just like children do. That might mean committing to an hour less of television, coming home earlier from a social gathering or simply telling our partner that you are calling it a night! Aim for 6 to 8 hours a sleep. The formula to do that is pretty simple. Set a bed time 6 to 8 hours before you need to wake up. That may wind up being an early bed time. But your rest should be a priority.
2. Turn Off The Gadgets
The rise of electronic screens means that it’s almost impossible to imagine an evening without a phone, television, iPad, e-reader, etc. Screens emit too much blue light, which harms our dim-light melatonin production. Either turn off screens to protect this sleep promoting hormone or switch your gadgets to night mode. Most new devices have this feature.
3. Don't Forget To Exercise
Inactivity causes poor sleep. By exercising, we unleash a hormone-regulating effect throughout our bodies. Regulated hormones equal better sleep. This does not mean you should go outside and run miles on end. Neither should you try to punish your body in the gym with hard workouts. In fact, there’s evidence to support the idea that less-strenuous exercise is actually more beneficial for hormones. 30 minutes of walking each day can improve your sleep!
4. Keep Your Home Cool
Sleeping in a cool environment is an easy way to improve sleep. Ever notice that you wake up sweating during the night? Our bodies are designed to sleep best in an ideally cool environment. Try turning the temperature down to about 65-68°F and see how your sleep improves! If you are too cold then add blankets.
5. Wind Down
Taking 30 minutes each evening to wind down by reading, stretching or taking a relaxing bath can help your body transition from the hustle and bustle to sleep-sleep-sleep. This might mean cutting out 30 minutes of television every evening, or pushing your bedtime back by just a bit. But the peace of your evening routine will pay off!