Sleep is underestimated, especially when it comes to the health benefits that it can provide. On top of it playing a vital role in improving concentration, memory, reducing inflammation, regulating hormones, enhancing athletic performance, sleep is particularly essential in strengthening the immune system. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) recommends at least 7 hours per night for adults. Unfortunately, many people are not meeting this requirement. To experience the health benefits sleep can provide, try out these helpful tips to improve your sleep:
Coffee is not the enemy here. In fact, consuming caffeine can help with focus, concentration, and athletic performance. However, there is a fine line in drinking it a little too late into the day. On average, it takes 8-10 hours for the average person to fully metabolize caffeine. Therefore, drinking caffeine too late in the day can increase sleep disruption at night. This means that enjoying a cup of coffee at 2pm can risk being alert at midnight. To avoid this, enjoy a cup, or two, in the morning and limit in the afternoon.
Set the Mood
Bedtime can be tricky. Despite having the intention of being asleep by a certain time, sleepiness, or lack thereof – can be the culprit of tossing and turning. “Setting the mood” can be key for a restful sleep. Whether it’s taking a warm shower or bath, dimming the lights, fluffing the pillows, or perhaps enjoying a cup of tea, what you do before bedtime is essential to creating a cozy atmosphere that can promote sleepiness. Creating this habit is a great way to avoid activities that can reduce sleepiness and increase stress such as using electronics, watching TV, or answering work emails.
Turn Off Electronics
Did you know that our bodies produce a hormone that is responsible for making us sleepy? This hormone is called Melatonin, also known as “the sleep hormone.” This hormone is naturally produced when darkness falls. However, this natural production of melatonin can be disrupted by the blue-light that emitted from electronics. Whether you’re scrolling through social media, catching up on shows, wrapping up work, or texting before bed, this bedtime habit can be the culprit to a restless night. Turning off electronics and silencing notifications is a good habit to adopt, especially to improve sleep.
Fruit Before Bed
This tip is highly recommended by Dr. Goglia to promote restful sleep. As he explains, eating a piece of fruit before bed will have a hyper/hypo-glycemic effect on the blood sugar. This means that the blood sugar will spike and shortly after, will drop. This drop in blood sugar will promote a feeling of fatigue and sleepiness, which is ideal to maximize a sleep pattern. Grabbing a medium apple or a cup of berries is not only tasty, but beneficial as well!
Set a Schedule
Giving yourself a bedtime may sound a bit silly, but it could be a great way to structure your pre-bedtime routine. Whether you use the above recommendation of taking a warm bath before bed, silencing electronics, or enjoying a piece of fruit, setting a routine can be essential in becoming consistent with hours slept on a nightly basis. Along with the benefits of more restful sleep, a routine can also help keep stress levels low! Read here for more reasons why setting a routine is important.