Sleep better: 5 tips for a healthy sleep routine
Posted on Tue Sep 08 15:32:54 EDT 2015 by Jennifer
There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep to set you up for a successful day, yet a lack of quality, restful sleep keeps many of us, well… awake at night. If you’re trudging through your days like a walking zombie, don’t worry! Your sleep routine might be to blame. Here are some tips for how to get a better sleep, night after night.
#1. Start with your sleep set up
It might seem obvious, but many of us overlook the importance of what we sleep on when it comes to successful sleep. If your mattress is more than seven years old, if you’re sore in the morning or if you’re tired even after a night of sleep, The Better Sleep Council suggests that you might need to find a new mattress.
Once you’re sure your mattress is the one for you, check out what you put on top of it: the quality and type of pillows you use can directly impact your success at sleeping. While certain pillows might look nice, they might not be doing you and your sleep style much good. If you’re a side sleeper, you should try a medium-firm pillow for your head with another for between your legs. Sleep on your back? Try a contoured memory-foam pillow. Stomach sleeper? Try a softer option.
#2 Move more, rest better
If you’re having trouble staying still and sleeping at night, you might want to assess how you’re moving during the day. Getting a moderate amount of aerobic exercise, like walking, jogging or dancing, during the day can help you sleep more soundly at night. With our busy lives though, it can be hard to fit enough exercise into the day. One way to ensure you hit your movement mark? Activity trackers monitor and track your daily movement and show you your stats. An added bonus to activity trackers—many have sleep-tracking functionality, which can give you more insight into your sleep routine.
#3. Revamp your midnight snack
We know that what we sleep has an impact on how we feel during the day, but have you considered the effect of your food on your zzzs? Avoiding spicy and rich foods, as well as caffeine and alcohol, in the evening can help prepare your body for sleep in a natural way. If you’re starving before bed, try snacking on foods that are more likely to calm your brain and encourage sleep-inducing melatonin production in your body, like bananas.
#4 Establish a sleep-friendly environment
No matter how you prepare, it can be difficult to turn your mind off when it comes time to sleep. Strategies like pre-sleep meditation and stretching can help to relax you, while environmental aids like light-blocking curtains and sleep therapy machines can be helpful tools to create the perfect ambiance to allow your mind to drift off to sleep.
#5 Give yourself a bedtime…and stick to it
Our final tip is one that you might remember from your childhood… pick a bedtime, and consistently go to bed every night at that time. With our busy schedules, this might be the most challenging tip to follow through on—but it’s very important. By going to bed at the same time (and waking up at the same time), you can refresh your body’s natural sleep circadian rhythm, resulting in more blissfully rested mornings.