As a college student, sleep is one thing I cherish. Sleep helps your body rejuvenate and keeps your brain to operating at its best. Too many times, I have gone to bed late and gotten up early. And if I do have time to get to bed early, falling asleep is another story. My goal is to begin a healthier sleep routine. Following these simple tips, we all can benefit from a better night's sleep and a more energized day.
1. Make a bedtime routine
For a great night’s sleep, give yourself a bedtime routine to alert your body that it's time to sleep. Put things away, take a bath or shower, and start dimming the lights up to two hours before your planned bedtime. If you're busy up until the point you crawl into bed, your body might still be awake even if you're exhausted.
2. Get up around the same time every day
Our bodies love routine. Your internal clock has the ability to wake you up without an alarm clock. The only catch is that you must be consistent with your sleep schedule. Drastic changes in your sleep pattern can actually cause you to be even more tired than you were before. Try to be consistent. Your body will thank you.
3. Avoid any mentally stimulating activities before bed
This includes reading, watching TV, and checking social media sites (we've all been guilty of that, haven't we). Activating new thoughts can be very counterproductive. 30 minutes before you climb into bed, make it an effort to not check any screen devices, especially in the dark. The light emitted from your device stimulates your brain and causes it to be more alert, not what exactly what you want late at night.
4. Avoid eating close to bedtime
Eating one to three hours before bedtime can decrease the quality and length of your sleep. Avoid snacking or eating a big meal right before you go to sleep. Give your body time to properly digest your food so it can give you energy when you need it.
5. Avoid caffeine intake after midday
There's no doubt that drinking caffeine will make you stay awake. Getting into the habit of consuming caffeine throughout the day may be the reason you have a hard time falling asleep at night. Try to avoid caffeine intake in the afternoon, or better, avoid it altogether.
6. Use earplugs and/or an eye mask
This is such a simple solution for those who are light sleepers. If you have a roommate that wakes up earlier than you or a husband who snores, there's no need to lay awake wishing you were asleep. Grab a pair of earplugs or slip on an eye mask to block sound and light. They're great for traveling on planes too!
7. Keep your bedroom cool
Most sleep studies recommend setting your thermostat to about 65ºF. That may seem a bit cold to some of you, but before you go to sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops, which helps promote deep sleep. Setting your thermostat to around 65º will help your body get to that temperature faster, which will let you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
8. Exercise daily
Try to get in at least 15 minutes of exercise a day. Not only does exercising keep your body healthy, but it can relieve pent-up stress and energy that keeps you awake at night.
9. Do a brain dump before bed
I've mentioned this before, but doing a brain dump right before you go to bed can really help clear your mind and keep you from staying awake. It's very simple. Just take a piece of paper and write down everything and anything that comes to mind. Don't think, just write. In the morning, take a look at the list and organize it in whatever way you choose.
10. Use a sleep tracker app
Hate that feeling of waking up groggy and tired? It might be because you were woken up in deep sleep, the most restful sleep. Studies show that waking up in a light sleep stage cause you to feel happier and more rested. The Sleep Cycle app analyzes your sleep and finds the optimal time to wake you up during a 30 minute window that ends at your set alarm time. Graphs provide you with information about your sleep quality, what times you went to sleep in the past 3 months, the average time you spend in bed, and your sleep quality on certain days of the week.
Sleep has never been better.
What do you do to get a good night's sleep? What does your bedtime routine look like?
P.S. Check out these 8 Ways to Simplify Your Life!