A good night's sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But it's not just about how many hours you get, but the actual quality of sleep matters, too. After all, 8 hours of tossing and turning won't do you any good!
When you're asleep, your body and mind repair and rejuvenate themselves. The big question is: how do you get a good night's sleep?
Here are 10 tips you can use to get the rest your body needs every night:
1. Exercise. When you exercise during the day, your body craves rest at night. In turn, you'll fall asleep faster and spend more time in the deeper, most restful stage of sleep.
2. Eat earlier. After you eat, your body kicks its metabolism into high gear to process and break down the food. When you eat late, your body is still converting food into energy at bedtime. With all that energy, it's no wonder you can't get a good night sleep!
3. Schedule. If you follow a consistent schedule where you wind down and get to bed at a certain time every night, your body will learn to automatically prepare for the event each night, resulting in a better night's rest.
4. Get some sun. Your internal clock is set when melatonin is created in your body by sunlight. In order to keep your internal clock set to the right time, be sure you get enough sunlight or put a natural spectrum light bulb where you spend most of your day.
5. Turn out the lights. Sleep in a dark room, preferably pitch black. The light entering the room can either affect your sleep patterns or make your body think it's bright outside and simulate a sunrise, which is more likely to wake you up.
6. No TV. If you watch TV in bed, you might be stimulating your mind instead of relaxing it. Most shows on TV are geared toward engaging and stimulating viewers, not putting them to sleep.
- Many studies have shown that even just having a TV in your room can disturb your sleep patterns, even if it's turned off, because you associate your bedroom with a stimulating activity.
- Replace your TV with a noise machine, preferably one with a white noise or crashing waves sound to block out other auditory distractions and lull you to sleep with its constant droning sounds.
7. Read a book. Giving your mind time to unwind can be a useful tool to get a better night's sleep. By reading a book, you remove yourself from your current situation. This allows your mind a temporary escape into another world, which can relax you and reduce stress.
8. Avoid naps. The whole trick to getting a better night's sleep is to be tired when it's time to go to bed. If you take a nap during the day, when you're ready to go to bed, your body and mind may not think it needs the rest. If you really need a nap, keep it to 20 minutes or less.
- Naps also reset your biological clock and force you into thinking day is night.
9. Journal. Writing down your thoughts can improve your sleep greatly. By getting things out of your mind, you can keep from mentally re-living the day or planning all the things you need to do tomorrow.
- Keep a note pad beside your bed. If you wake up and remember something, write it down and get back to sleep, instead of worrying about it (or forgetting it) by the next morning.
10. Keep the bedroom for sleeping. If you constantly do work or watch TV in bed, your mind may find it difficult to associate sleep with your bed. Keep it simple and use the bed for what it's meant for.
If you follow just a few of these simple tips for two weeks straight, you'll notice a huge difference. You deserve to wake up feeling refreshed and well rested!