We all need our beauty sleep. Sleep and our circadian rhythms are far more important than most people realize. Sleep gives our body and mind an opportunity to repair, rest and regenerate. We all know how tempting it is to stay up late and set the alarm too early. Restricting our sleep comes at a cost.
Although we are all different and there are individual preferences which vary greatly we should all work to get between 6-8 hours of sleep nightly. Consistently getting less than six hours of sleep per night can contribute to a long list of medical problems, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, not to mention decreased cognitive function.
1. These seven tips can help you reset your sleep pattern and get you back in sync with your circadian rhythm improving your energy , health and wellness. Stick to a sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime ritual of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. Regulating your body’s clock can help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound deep sleep or remain asleep.
2. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees and also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices. Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms.
3. The temperature drop between a warm shower and a cooler room causes an L-tryptophane response in the body. A study found L-tryptophane causes a positive change in total sleep time, as well as improved feelings. To do this, try taking a “warm” shower before bed, as the water warms your skin and lowers your Internal body temperature.
4. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime.
5. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. The latest research suggests otherwise. A study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that people who exercise vigorously for 35 minutes before bed slept as well as they did on nights when they didn’t.
6. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
7. Long known for its therapeutic properties, lavender oil can allegedly activate relaxation and sedation, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine. Apply the oil to your inner wrists in a slow, mindful, intentional way. Its effects should start working quickly.
Getting enough sleep isn’t only about total hours of sleep. It’s also important to get good quality sleep on a regular schedule so you feel rested when you wake up.
If you often have trouble sleeping – or if you often still feel tired after sleeping – talk with your medical provider.