This week, the Habits of Health Community has been talking about sleep. This Habit of Health impacts every area of our lives, from our appetites to our moods to our ability to fight disease. Despite its importance, sleep is one of the first casualties of our modern, chaotic lives. We go to sleep a little bit later and wake up a little bit earlier, and overtime our healthy sleep becomes a few hours of anxious tossing and turning that never really feels like rest.
3 Simple Sleep Habits
Dr. A’s Habits of Health has a full dive into why sleep is important and what you can do to build healthy sleep habits, but here are three things you could do today to get better sleep tonight:
- No caffeine after noon. That afternoon cup of coffee creates a self-defeating cycle where the half-life of that chemical boost disrupts your sleep that night, making you more tired the next day, and therefore making you more likely to have yet another late-day coffee.
- Move your body. Our bodies are programmed to be survival machines, and rest is critical to that process. If you exercise, even if it’s just a consistent walking program to start, your body is more likely to initiate sleep more easily at night.
- Turn off your screens. The blue light from your phone, computer, and television confuse your natural sleep cycle because your body associates that artificial light with sunlight, which was how our Stone Age ancestors knew when to be awake and when to sleep. Put your screens away an hour before bed and read instead.
Going Deeper with Your Habits
Each of these habits, as simple as they may be to explain, can vary in difficulty for each individual. Remember, you need to repeat most activities 66 days in a row (on average) for it to become a habit, so if you find one or two of these suggestions to be especially challenging for you, get help.
Your LifeBook is loaded with tips and exercises to help, and your health coach can give you support and encouragement as well.
If, for example, you drink five cups of coffee a day and have been for years, you are not a failure if you can’t immediately cut back to one cup. You actually learned something very valuable about yourself. When you can see a challenge more clearly, you will find it much easier to get the support and insights you need to move forward.
See you in the morning!