How to Sleep Better
You probably already know that sleep is very good for you and that, most likely, you are not getting enough of it. Or maybe you are getting enough, but it’s not the deep, restful sleep that truly promotes optimal health. So how can you sleep better?
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Most recommendations suggest seven or eight hours per night. It depends largely on who you are; some of you can thrive on six or seven hours, while others need a bit more. I personally feel best right at nine hours. That is where I wake up on my own, with no alarm, and actually want to get out of bed. It is amazing! I’m able to go all day without feeling tired normally, and I still sleep great at night.
Of course, not all of us are able to sleep until we naturally wake up. And most of us go through seasons where we simply cannot get to bed early and still have to rise early. During these times, it is especially important to get really good, quality sleep.
1.Be Consistent with Sleep Times
Even if you are only able to get a few hours of sleep each night, getting those hours at the same time can go a long way toward ensuring that you get the most out of them. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, including on the weekends.
Similarly, get up at the same time every day, even if you don’t have to. This helps your body to know that it is time to sleep, and your built-in alarm clock will work with your hormones to tell you to fall asleep and sleep well.
If you do need to try to catch up on the weekend, get those extra hours at night rather than in the morning, and still rise at your normal time. There are many benefits of getting much of your sleep before midnight. The sleep is more restful, and it looks like there is even some evidence to suggest that some of our organs actually heal and repair at earlier hours of the night! Another advantage to this is that you will be more in tune with your body’s circadian rhythm, which is very in tune with the hours of light and darkness.
2.Don’t Overdo the Naps!
I Know, I know, you don’t get enough sleep and you are always tired, so when you get home from work, you just want to sleep for a couple hours before getting back to your day. But go easy! While naps are amazing and good for your health, napping too much can mess with your natural sleep cycle and keep you from experiencing as much restful sleep at night. If you are catching a nap to keep you going later into the night, consider instead fighting the fatigue until a good, early night hour, then call it a night!
3.Spend More Time Outside
Sunlight is so important for our health in many ways. One of the most important of these is the way that it positively affects our natural rhythms and sleep. When you get up in the morning, go outside and get some sunshine for a few minutes. In the evening, expose yourself to the sun as it goes down. This will help your body realize that it is time to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. Spending time outside also gives us so much fresh air and good natural light, which will assist as well with sleep quality.
4. Decrease Blue Light Exposure
Most of us spend a lot of time every day on our electronics. If you have to be on your laptop or phone for work or other necessary activities, try to finish up and turn your device of at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light exposure and EMFs are increasingly becoming a source of concern in the world of health, and we have not had the plethora of electronic options around for long enough to actually know for sure how exactly they are affecting us long term. We do know, however, that this is a very new way of life that is most definitely not in keeping with the natural processes that God built into our minds and bodies. So cut the late-night device use and get some sleep!
5.Limit Your Caffeine Intake
This is another of those nasty cause-and-effect cycles where you can’t stop the one habit until you stop the other, and you can’t stop the other til you stop the one! You are tired because you didn’t sleep last night, so you grab a quad-shot latte to power yourself through the day. And chances are, you didn’t sleep well last night because of that same quad-shot you consumed yesterday because again, you were tired but had to keep going.
Limit your caffeine. Avoid all soft drinks and nutritionally-void beverages altogether, and if you really need that morning wake up or the afternoon pick-me-up, go for less caffeine. Try to avoid coffee in the afternoon and evening. A twenty-minute nap can be amazingly invigorating, while being short enough to not take away from your sleep later that night!
Another good option, if you really enjoy that morning cup of joe, is to make it bulletproof. Add some butter, coconut oil, and heavy cream and blend for a few seconds until frothy. It is delicious (especially if you add a touch of honey as well) and adds some healthy fats, which will aid your body in processing the caffeine.
As with any aspect of health, quality sleep is affected by everything that we do. If you want to sleep better, be more energetic, and just feel good all around, adopt more clean living habits. Get outside. Move more. Expose your eyes and skin to the sunlight. Eat real, whole foods. Stress less and be thankful more. Count your blessings. Pray. Do something for someone else. Learn a new skill. Be creative. Drink more water. You will notice not just better sleep, but a better life all around!