Sleep has a large effect on your health and your life. Just a few of the systems it can affect are your mood, energy, infections, and physical recovery. Your quality of sleep is essential to the quality of your day and, ultimately, your life. Sleep should not be taken for granted as it so often is.
Be sure to catch some Z's, but don't overcorrect. Getting too much sleep can also cause problems. It can lead to long-lasting neurological and physical problems. Conditions can include rapid weight gain and even put you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Here are 5 tips for getting a better night's sleep:
Try your best to go to bed at the same time each night... yes, even on the weekends.
Pro Tip: Have a late bedtime so that if you go to sleep earlier, you’ll be ahead of schedule and not behind it.
2. Get Enough
Give yourself cushion room for the falling asleep part. The recommended amount of sleep is about 8 hours. If you are adjusting your sleeping habits, you may not fall asleep right away. If you lay in bed trying to fall asleep for 2 hours, that’s only 6 hours of actual sleep. Schedule in a bit of padding so that you don’t cut yourself short. Sticking to this routine will start to train your body for when it is time to be in bed and go to sleep. This process may take a while, but it is worth it to take the time to adjust to how your body responds. Keep track of your results by evaluating how you feel the next day.
Pro Tip: The recommended 8 hours is just that, recommended, so if you need more sleep, that’s totally okay. Making timing adjustments can be especially important if you have a mental illness or are neurodivergent. For example, it is common for people with bipolar disorder to need more than 8 hours of sleep.
3. Chill Out
Turn down the thermostat or open a window, whatever you can do to make your bedroom a little bit colder. The cooler temperature will help your body go into ‘power save’ mode. This will slow down your bodily functions and use less energy, which will help you to fall asleep faster.
Pro Tip: Climate control in New York City can be a luxury, especially in the Summer months. If you have a unit with no A/C (or it doesn’t work), consider investing in a personal fan that you can use for warm Summer nights.
Experiment with your exercise routine. Moving your gym session to earlier in the day will help you burn energy earlier in the day. A workout later in the day may not work as quickly as you might need it to. Releasing energy during the day will reduce the amount of energy you have before bedtime.
Lastly, try to limit your screen time before bed. I know this can seem nearly impossible and sometimes may not even be possible. But try your best to take a half hour to an hour before bed to really relax and slow down. You could do something like write in a journal, do a nighttime routine, or read a book. Simply choose an activity that will relax you so you'll be mentally and physically ready for bed. Try to avoid any digital activities as these will make your body think that it’s not time for bed yet.
Getting a good night's sleep can be a challenge, but it is a goal that is worth continuing to work at. Being well-rested can help brighten your day and help with issues like irritability and poor health. So, hunker down, snuggle up, and get some sleep - you deserve it!