In this fast-paced world that we live in, very few of us get enough sleep. But I’m convinced that 95% of what ails us can be solved with proper diet and adequate sleep. But that’s easier said than done, right?
Still, wouldn’t it be awesome to have more energy, to get sick less often, and to have clear, radiant skin? We’d all like that, right? Well then, you might just have to come to terms with the fact that sleep is a key ingredient to having a better quality of life. When I get enough sleep, I’m less crabby, I have more energy, and my skin looks and feels better. Like everything else, getting enough sleep is a matter of discipline and setting priorities.
Here are some practical ways to get a good night’s sleep so you can feel and look your best.
Ten Tips To Get Optimal Sleep
1. Determine the amount of sleep you need. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. Me? I need eight hours. Nine is better, but no more than that, or I’m liable to sleep my life away. If I go a few days on less than eight hours of sleep a night, I become a crazy person. Trust me, you can ask my kids. They’ll tell you. I become screamy yelly mommy, and it ain’t pretty. Some people are simply blessed with the ability to run on five or six hours a night. If that’s you, just know that I sort of hate you. Hey, just keeping it real.
So experiment until you figure out your magic number, then go on to #2.
2. Establish a regular sleep cycle. Once you know how much sleep you need, decide on a bedtime and wake time that suits your schedule. It’s important to try to go to bed and get up at relatively the same time every day.
And don’t think you can make up for lost sleep by sleeping in on the weekends. This kind of sleep does not benefit you in the long run. My typical sleeping hours are 10pm to 6am. Even on the weekends, I get up with the birds. When I stick to that routine, I am happier, I feel better, and I look better. It’s so worth it.
3. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine. I know, I’m such a killjoy. But if you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, take a look at your diet.
Are you consuming too much caffeine? Even if you consume all your caffeine by noon, some people notice that it still affects their nighttime sleep.
Do you enjoy a glass of wine before bed? Yeah, me too. But I’ve noticed a disturbing pattern. Typically I sleep like the dead, but lately I’ve been waking at 3am every night, unable to go back to sleep right away. When I cut out that evening glass of wine, I sleep better.
4. Eat a larger lunch and a smaller dinner. Eating a big meal close to bedtime causes your body to work at digestion and can prevent you from falling asleep easily. And also, if you adapt this habit, you’re less likely to put on weight because you burn off your biggest meal as you go about your afternoon activities. BONUS!
5. Avoid napping. This messes with your sleep cycle. If you’re getting enough sleep at night, you won’t need a nap.
6. Exercise. There is no ailment that moderate exercise can’t help. Take a walk after dinner, join a gym, take up jogging, take a yoga class, or play tennis with your hubby. Find some activity you enjoy doing, and make it a part of your routine. However, for optimal sleep, it’s best to choose to perform high energy activities earlier in the day. If you want exercise in the evening, do something relaxing like walking or yoga.
7. Get a comfortable mattress and pillow. Perhaps this goes without saying, but you will sleep better if you are comfortable.
8. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. It’s hard to relax in a cluttered room. I know in our house, our bedroom is the last frontier as far as keeping up with the housework. But this isn’t valuing yourself and your sleep. Try to make time each day to make your bed and straighten your room so when you come in to go to bed at night, it is a relaxing and welcoming sanctuary.
9. Kick the kids (and the pets) out! You can file this in the “do as I say, not as I do” category, because our kids often end up in our bed, but honestly, it is not the most restful way to sleep. I mean, let’s face it. It’s hard to sleep with a 4-year-old elbow in your eye. For your good, and theirs, it’s best to assign each to his own bed. I would even go so far as to say that if your hubby keeps you awake at night with snoring or restless tossing and turning, it’s best to sleep in separate rooms. You can still share a bed when it’s, ahem, necessary. But you may be better off sleeping separately.
10. Keep the bedroom for sleeping and the family room for reading and TV watching. I know you don’t want to hear this, but do not allow yourself to get used to falling asleep while watching TV or reading. It’s harder to relax and fall asleep this way, and oftentimes the subject matter keeps your mind churning while you should be thinking sleepy thoughts. Don’t believe me? Try it for a week and see how you feel.
Believe it or not, I have even more tips, but I think 10 is enough for one post. Do you have anything to add? What are your best tips for getting optimal sleep?