How are you sleeping? If you are like me, this can be a daily struggle, but I’ve been able to improve my sleep over the past few years by applying these tips.

  1. Make your room dark and dim lights and turn off screens an hour before bed

This one may be self-explanatory, but a lot of people I know don’t have dark curtains over the windows in their bedroom.  This can let in all sorts of light from streetlights, car headlights, and undoubtedly the sun.  Light tells the body it’s time to be awake, absence of light lets the body know it’s time to sleep. A tiny light from your phone, tablet, or TV while you are getting ready to sleep might not seem like a big deal, but it plays a huge role in promoting wakefulness to the body.

  1. Turn down the temperature.

65 degrees is usually optimal for sleep. Some people need it to be a little warmer and some even cooler, however in general it’s best to have a very cool bedroom.  To get restful sleep body temperature needs to drop.  Having a cool room is a great way to enhance your sleep.  If you try this and are too cold, put on some socks.

  1. Try to go to bed and wake up the same time every day.

Your body loves a solid routine. Sleeping is no different. You will find that when you wake up at the same time your body is more energized. Even when you have a late night out, it’s still more beneficial for you to wake up at the same time. If you start to really get tired during the day take a power nap (30 minutes or less).

  1. Avoid caffeine after 1PM and avoid alcohol.

Caffeine is amazing during the day, I mean who doesn’t love a nice cup of coffee? It promotes high energy levels and helps you focus, but these awesome side effects last longer than you think and will destroy your sleep habits, so be mindful of caffeine in the afternoon. Alcohol is a sedative and sedation is not sleep.  I have known people in the past who swear by the evening night cap to help them fall asleep, but this is very problematic.  When you fall asleep with alcohol in your system it restricts your body from entering REM sleep.  REM and deep sleep release Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Testosterone, both pivotal for losing weight, recovering, and staying healthy. This is why after drinking you feel slower the next day.

  1. Still can’t sleep? Get up.

I struggle to shut my brain off when I go to bed.  This is problematic when you are trying to power down and can make lying in bed very restless. This is when it’s an appropriate time to get up and do something quiet and relaxing until the body gives you the urge to sleep.  My go-to quiet and relaxing activity is meditation, I use the headspace app.

Have more questions about sleep? Feel free to email me or ask me in class.