They say you need about 8 hours of sleep a night to feel rested, but what if those 8 hours of sleep are poor quality, it kind of defeats the purpose. I’m not always able to get the full 8 hours in, so I do my best to improve the quality of the sleep I do get. I like to keep a list of tips for better sleep to refer to when I’m feeling a little run down.
The goal here isn’t necessarily more sleep, it’s better sleep! I’m not an expert (i’m far from an expert anything that pertains to sleep- I do my best, that’s my only credential on the matter- these are just what helps me personally. Here are a few of my own tips for better sleep:
1. Turn the lights off
This one seems obvious, but it’s important. Any amount of light can mess with our circadian rhythm, so do what you can to eliminate all light in your sleeping area. I have a post it note over the little power button on the printer in my bedroom.
2. Get enough sunlight
Sunlight, especially in the early morning, is important in our melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us sleepy at night and helps with our wake and sleep cycles. If our eyes don’t see enough sunlight, we may not produce enough melatonin to help us sleep.
3. Decrease stress
I know- easier said that done. But stress can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Not only that, but not getting enough causes more stress. It’s a vicious cycle we don’t want to get caught up in. We could go through hundreds of articles about stress itself, but start with small ways to reduce stress. Look at 2, 4, and 5 on this list. Other ways to look into are journaling before bed, talking to a friend, and meditation.
A more vigorous workout earlier in the day and a light calming stretching or yoga session for bed can aid in a more restful night of sleep. It’s also great for stress relief and overall health. Win win win!
5. Avoid certain foods
Heavy meals right before bedtime can cause a disruption in sleep, so it’s best to move those meals to another part of the day. Other food items to avoid before bed are heartburn-causing foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
Remember, more sleep doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be more rested. Sleep quality is just as (or maybe even more) important.