Even small improvements in your Habits of Healthy Sleep can lead to monumental rewards
Habits of Healthy Sleep are a cornerstone of optimal wellbeing. Our sleep is linked to nearly every aspect of our health, from our ability to make decisions, to our appetite control, to our ability to fend off disease. When we get the sleep our bodies need (7.5 hours for most people), we build the foundation for an optimal day. We have energy. We have more control. And our body is primed to perform at its best.
Despite the potential rewards that come from sleep, it’s one of the most overlooked areas of health. We are quick to sacrifice a few hours to get more work done or to watch our favorite Netflix series, but those lost hours take a toll. When we do try to get our sleep back on track, an inconsistent routine built on poor daily habits can mean that we don’t get the rest we need even when we get to bed on time.
Tips to help you make improvements to your sleeping habits
Do you struggle to fall asleep? Do you wake up after a full night’s sleep and still don’t feel rested? You’re not alone, and here are some tips that could help.
- Implement a digital sunset. One hour before your bedtime, turn off all of your devices and begin a relaxation routine by dimming the lights, running a hot bath, and perhaps reading a book. The light from phone and television screens disrupts our body’s sleep response, and a fast-paced action show or a stressful work email can ignite our minds and make us restless.
- Cut late-day caffeine. The cycle of not getting enough rest and needing an afternoon cup of coffee to get through the day is a vicious loop. Stop consuming caffeine five hours prior to your bedtime so that the buzz is clear of your system in time for sleep.
- Meditate throughout your day. Many of us struggle with sleep because of stress and anxiety. A few minutes of quiet breathing right before bed can help, but if you address and reduce stress throughout your day, you can hit your pillow feeling much more in control of your emotions.
- Upgrade your mattress, pillows, and blankets. In many cases, restless sleep can be linked to an uncomfortable bed. Get a mattress that provides the support you need to reduce aches and pains, get pillows that give you adequate neck support, and get blankets that keep you warm but also breathe so that you can regulate your body temperature overnight.
- Exercise more. Habits of Healthy Motion produce a number of benefits, and more restful sleep as well as reductions in stress are big ones. If we move more throughout the day, we are more likely to drift into sleep when we turn off the lights at night.
- Talk to your physician. A range of other health concerns can disrupt sleep (such as sleep apnea), so have a conversation with your doctor about your goals and ask them about getting healthy, natural sleep.
Even small improvements in your Habits of Healthy Sleep can lead to monumental rewards for the rest of your life. So while our ultimate goal is to master this Macro Habit of Health, small steps forward are still valuable, and this list is a good place to start.