A couple of weeks ago we presented a post on not making resolutions but rather tackling that bucket list. Well,when January rolls around many people swear they'll get more sleep this year. Or maybe they simply would kill to get better quality sleep. So we thought, why not make that a bucket list item? It's attainable, for one. And two, it's something you should aspire to do - for your health and your sanity! So here's a list of some ways to help ensure you get a good night's sleep in 2014...and beyond! 1) Kill the screen time: Before you sputter and gasp like I'd just severed one of your limbs, there's proof that the light emitted from tablets, computers and smart phones actually stimulates brain activity. Thus, if you're checking email, Facebook or playing Candy Crush seconds before you desire shut eye, you aren't doing yourself any favors. Try to shut down all devices at least 15-30 minutes before you plan to hit the pillow. If you must do something, read, as in a book. On paper. I know. Radical idea. But reading does make you tired. Just try not to get so caught up in your book that you don't want to go to bed. Cause that would kinda defeat the purpose.
2) Meditate: You don't need to be into yoga or Deepak Chopra for this. But if you're like me, the biggest obstacle to good quality sleep is turning off your brain. The minute I lie down my mind goes into overdrive, replaying conversations, planning out my day, thinking about my to-do list, etc. A simple 5 minute or less meditation could greatly help calm your brain and you, and put you into a nice restful state for sleep. I know I said to turn off your devices, but you can download some great meditation apps to get you started. The great thing about these is you can use them during the day, too. If you are having a stressful moment, just click, breathe and meditate. Instant calm.
3) Keep it cool: The perfect temperature for sleeping is 68 degrees. While this may sound cold, warmer temperatures actually result in poorer sleep. But that being said, you need to pick the best temperature for your body which typically should range from 65-72. I personally sleep with the windows open year-round, as I HATE being hot and would rather snuggle under the covers to keep warm.
4) Color your view: The color of your bedroom also has a dramatic effect on sleep. Cooler colors, like blues, are cited the best for sleep, while a red bedroom will overstimulate your mind. And while your eyes are closed when you're sleeping, it's the idea of creating that comforting and soothing space to relax in before you go to sleep as well. So if you've been thinking about making a change, grab a can of paint and cool down your bedroom.
5) White noise: Ever notice how the minute you get on an airplane you feel drowsy? The engine noise, or white noise, is a fantastic relaxer and it just blocks everything else out. If you're a light sleeper, easily woken but noise, consider getting a white noise machine. Many come with other sounds as well (rain forest, lullaby, heart beat) so you can try alternate sounds if white noise isn't for you. Most humidifiers also emit a soft sound that means they double perfectly as a white noise maker. Many also claim that a moist environment that a humidifier provides can also help stave-off that gross, sand-papery throat that can pop-up in the cold winter months!
6) Go to bed early (or at least earlier): The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between 7 and 8 hours. Most of us get less. A lot of this is due to going to bed too late. Try to make a small change and just go to bed even 5 minutes earlier each week. Eventually you can inch towards 30 or even 60 minutes earlier. You'll be amazed how much better you will feel with this extra sleep. And you likely will sleep better because of it. I know that ever since I started working out in the morning and going to bed earlier at night, I feel more tired at night and my body let's me know when it's time for bed. Trust your body. That email can wait. You have a DVR, so use it. Lunch can get made in the morning (or make it during dinner!). The point is, go to bed!
Have you tried any of these tips? We'd love to hear what works for you to get better sleep.