For many of us, grogginess or lulls in energy throughout the day is commonplace. More often than not, these low-energy days are a result of restless nights without a quality snooze and general sleep-deprivation.
Sleep is important—it not only contributes to a myriad of health benefits but also it sets the pace for your day. If you, like so many others, suffer from poor sleep or lack thereof, not to worry. A few minor tweaks and new habits is often all it takes to improve your nightly slumber.
Great sleep leads to healthier days and these sleep hacks and easy-to-do tips are sure to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Stop Doing Anything in Bed Except Sleep and Romance
No playing with the iPad, no texting, no Netflix marathons on a Sunday afternoon unless it is on the sofa. Doing anything in bed other than sleeping (or lovey-dovey time of course) is telling your brain that those other things are ok to do in bed. It is also those very things that keep your mind awake even when your body is tired. Ever watch a movie in bed then lie awake with your mind racing? Cut down on those restless nights by keeping to this rule: the bed is only for sleep and romance. Nothing else. Nada.
Keep Bedroom Temperatures at Optimal Levels
Optimal temps for better sleep are slightly cooler than what you are used to. So what is the best temp for sleep? Studies show that between 67 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit help you fall asleep faster and sleep sounder than warmer environments. Making sure you have a custom mattress that helps regulate your temperatures will also keep you cool enough for sweet dreams.
Nix the Sugar and Caffeine
Having simple sugars before bed can wreck havoc on your ability to fall asleep by hiking up your insulin levels and giving you late-night energy. Similarly, the same way sugar messes with your insulin, caffeine can up your adrenaline. If you are a heavy coffee drinker, it is best not to drink any Java after 5:00 p.m. The same holds true for simple sugars and carbohydrates. This will allow your body to detox and metabolize both stimulants in time for a good night’s rest.
Go to Sleep at the Same Time Every Day
Many of us parents sleep-train our children, which helps with their sleep patterns and daytime energy. Perhaps it is about time we think about sleep-training ourselves? Getting into the habit of going to sleep at a specific time every day will help regulate your circadian rhythm and optimize your sleep cycle. Both of which result in more energy and better functioning throughout your day.
Dim Lights Two Hours Before You Hit the Mattress
Dimming the lights before bedtime will help your inner clock transition towards sleep. So in the hours before bedtime, start reducing bright lights and turning off televisions. This will help you get into sleep mode. You may want to also consider swapping out a few bedroom lights for red spectrum bulbs. These mimic a sunset to your internal clock and are a great way to lessen your evening light exposure.
Clean Your Sheets Once a Week
Even if you have the best mattress possible, the “dressing” on your bed also matters quite a bit. Sleeping on clean sheets has many obvious health benefits—better sleep is definitely one of them. A sleep poll by the National Sleep Foundation showed that 73% of people sleep better on fresh sheets. In addition, 85% of people reported improved sleep and 73% said they had improved romantic lives when they slept on comfortable sheets.
While polls show that clean sheets result in better sleep because of the way people feel, there are also many scientific benefits to clean sheets. Considering the human body is home to more than 1,000 species of bacteria, you can shed more than 1 million skin cells per hour, and a person can perspire as much as a liter of water in a night, it is easy (and gross) to see how sheets can become perfect environments for sleep-disrupting dirt and harmful germs.
Dust and dirt can lead to health issues and allergens that hinder sleep. Clean your sheets once a week. You will love your bed more, and you will definitely love sleeping more.
Ditch the Electronics
We are a society with our smartphones and tablets permanently glued to our sides. Most of us are guilty of scrolling through our emails or browsing Facebook in bed (it’s ok, we are guilty of this too). The 2014 Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation estimates that 89% of adults and 75% of children have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms. This has to be one of the biggest factors responsible for what is destroying America’s sleeping habits as a whole.
Not only do these stimulate our brains (making it harder to sleep), but these devices also emit blue light. Recent research from Harvard and University of Toronto found that light in the blue spectrum acts on our bodies by suppressing natural melatonin. Since melatonin is the hormone that induces drowsiness, delaying its release means more time spent awake and greater difficulty getting sleepy.
Ditching the electronics in bed is one of the hardest habits to break. Some tips to help you break the habit:
- Set your phone to automatically enter Night Mode at a specific time
- Set all tablets to silent during the night
- Remove the TV and any appliances that are in the bedroom
These small changes can have one of the biggest impacts on the quality of your sleep—more so than any other tip or trick. Seriously, if there is one thing you start doing today, make it this. Say bye bye to electronics in bed and you are bound to sleep better tonight.
Try implementing a few of these sleep hacks into your nightly routine. Remember, it can take a bit to make things a habit so keep it at it. You will be dozing off effortlessly and sleeping better in no time.