Sleep… what is that magical land that seems to disappear after kids, career, and bills? If you’re like most of the american population and rarely seem rested, then today’s topic is for you! Let’s get a few things out of the way, everyone does not need 8 hours of sleep per night, that is an general average! Some people need a full 8-9 hours of sleep while other only need 5-6 hours of sleep, so trying to dictate how much sleep a person gets is based upon your personal needs is ridiculous! Personally, I can’t sleep past 6 hours unless I’ve been awake for 18+ hours, my body is simply wired to need less sleep, but I do go into a deeper sleep much faster than those who need 8-9 hours. So how do you get a better night’s sleep, regardless if your a 8 hour sleeper or a 5 hour napper?
1) You eat or drink to late
Consuming dinner, wine, or having a late night snack then passing out or going to bed shortly after, although feels amazing to complete sink in to your pillows with a full belly hinders your sleep more than you realize. While certain foods and wines help you get to sleep, these same things are keeping your body up leading to restless night of dozing in and out of sleep. Sleeping time isn’t just for you to feel refreshed in the mornings, but it is also the time your body takes to heal itself, regenerate cells, and to repair any damage caused to it during the day, but when you eat yourself to sleep, instead of healing and repairing, your body has to use its energy and resources to digesting food thus causing you to never fully hit REM or stage 4 sleep (that super deep sleep) so your body pretty much stays awake trying to move the food to the necessary components and to your bowels.
2) You lay in bed commenting and liking pictures on social media
Being on your phone necessarily isn’t a bad thing before bed, (I play mind numbing games until I pass out) but actively scrolling, commenting, and liking pictures on social media causes your brain to continue working. Our wonderful handheld devices, beeping lights on tv power buttons, random devices with lights cause our brain to be over stimulated leading to a state of anxiousness or constant anxiety during the day.
3) You have a different sleep pattern on weekends
Consistency is key, by keeping the same nightly routines during the weekend as you do during the week you allow your body to develop a set schedule, teaching it when to rest and when to be the most alert. By keeping your body on two different schedules, you are forcing your body to toggle between two different time zones, experts call it “social jet-lag”
4) You don’t have a set bedtime
Routine. Routine. Routine. By not having a bedtime routine, your body is unsure when it should start winding down. We never really outgrow the “bedtime routine” our parents established as kids. No I’m not saying have a glass of milk and cookies, but the “get ready its time for bed!” followed by nightly hygiene, chores, and rest. Try setting your alarm for an hour before bedtime so you can start winding down in time.
5) You consume to many stimulants
Whether its a morning cup of joe, a afternoon tea, then evening pre workout, truth is, you probably consume more stimulants than you realize on a daily basis. Unfortunately as we get older, our metabolism cant burn through coffee or other stimulants as fast, so that morning cup of coffee is still in you 8 hours later (in addition to the caffeine you piled on top of it. caffeine in itself blocks adenosine (the natural sedation chemical in our brains). As your tolerance builds for caffeine and the caffeine continually blocks the adenosine receptors, your body naturally makes even more! Thus you feeling more drowsy and needing that second cup of coffee. Allow your body to detox from caffeine from time to time, it’ll benefit you in the short and long run.
Have more tips and suggestions? Leave a comment below!