You Snooze, You Win: Sleep Wellness

It’s way too late o’clock. You’ve had a full day but you’ve got to squeeze in time for email, your favorite shows, Facebook/Instagram/latest favorite online game. After all, your only free time is that little window after work and before bed. Maximizing that time at night can impact the quality and quantity of your sleep. A full nights rest doesn’t just feel good. The health benefits linger from head to toe, affecting mood, heart, and even your metabolism. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep each night for adults 29-641.

Getting your best sleep starts as soon as you wake up--here are some tips to help you become well rested:

Keep a schedule. Aim to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day—even on weekends! This helps set your body’s internal clock. Set a realistic bedtime that works with your lifestyle, and avoid sleeping in—even on nights you’ve stayed up late. Sleeping late can cause you to stay up later, making it harder to maintain your set wake-up time. While you’re building a healthier schedule, avoid hitting that snooze button and you’ll feel less groggy. The more consistent you can be with your schedule, the better your sleep will be2.

What’s in your cup? That 4pm latte may be keeping you up at night. Cutting back on caffeine midday can help prep you for a better night’s sleep. Alcohol and heavier meals can also keep you awake—try making your last meal 2-3 hours before bedtime, and opt for water or warm decaffeinated beverages to help you sleep better.

Get moving. Studies show that a daily workout can help you sleep better at night. Experts used to say exercising in the morning was best to help people sleep better at night. However, for most of us, even a couple hours of aerobics before bedtime will help with sleep3. If an evening workout is keeping you awake, try squeezing in a 20 minute brisk walk around your building at lunch. The key is to start moving.

Wind down. Take a hot bath, brew some (decaf) tea, do something relaxing (ideally without an electronic device). Winding down an hour before bed can help alert your mind and body that it’s time to go to sleep. If you’re guilty of lying in bed unable to sleep due to stress, try writing down what’s on your mind. Outlining what’s keeping you awake, no matter how simple or complicated, can help relax your mind before bed.

Sources:

  1. https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times (link opens in new window)
  2. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/better-sleep/adjust-sleep-cycle (link opens in new window)
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/29/health/exercise-sleep-tips/index.html (link opens in new window)

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