Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle – it’s right up there with good nutrition and exercise! Yet many individuals still do not make sleep a priority, or know how to make it a priority. With these five simple tweaks to your routine you will get yourself on track to restful sleep.
1. Set a sleep and wake schedule
Be consistent with when you go to bed and when you wake-up. If you throw off your sleep schedule and stay up late or sleep in every other day, this throws off your circadian rhythm and makes it very hard to go to sleep and stay asleep when you want to. Aim to go to bed and wake-up within a one hour window daily, and yes this does include the weekend – try your best!
2. Exercise daily
Think of exercise as a way to get your body tired and ready for rest. Exercise also decreases stress hormones and calms anxiety, which is very helpful for those who can’t shut their brain off at night time.
Anytime of day is great to exercise, just avoid rigorous exercise right before bed as this might make you wide awake and alert – not what you want when you are trying to go to sleep.
3. Move more
Our bodies are designed to move, so if you aren’t moving enough throughout the day this is going to make it harder for your body to want to lay down and rest. This goes along with getting daily exercise, but being active throughout the day may be even more important than a structured exercise.
Easy ways to be more active include getting at least 10,000 steps per day and standing rather than sitting when possible.
4. Have a ritual before bed
Having a ritual before bed acts as a prompt to your mind and body that it’s time to unwind, and it’s time for sleep. Try anything that is relaxing to you that you could see yourself doing on a nightly basis. This could mean taking a warm bath or shower, reading before bed, stretching, and/or meditating.
5. Light dinner at least 2-3 hours before bed
Keep dinner light and aim to finish your meal 2-3 hours before you want to go to sleep. Digestion can keep you awake and alert, which is why you want to keep the meal light and you want to give yourself ample time to digest the food.