A good sleep schedule is crucial to your overall health, yet it is an area that people largely ignore. For many working individuals in a rat race to the top, sleep often gets pushed to the side in favor of working harder for longer hours. Even if you set aside enough hours for healthy sleep, unhealthy habits during the day can make it nearly impossible to get the sleep your body needs. Even if it’s not obvious at first, a lack of sleep can have huge impacts on your daily life, and chances are your body is not functioning as well as it could be. If you want to ditch the brain fog and wake up feeling refreshed with more energy, here are four things you can do to set up a sleep routine that you’ll actually stick to.
- Create the Right Atmosphere
Creating the right sleep atmosphere is the first step to establishing a healthy sleep routine. Look critically at the environment you’ve created in your bedroom and pick one or two areas for improvement to start. Are the lights bright and harsh? Are you drowning in electronics? Do you have pets that sleep in your room, but somehow manage nighttime activities every time the clock strikes three? In order to prepare your body and mind properly, you need to create an atmosphere that will encourage sleep. This may mean waiting to watch your favorite show in the morning and removing electronics from the room, or adding a white noise machine depending on the noise levels. If your pets regularly wake you up at night, it may be time to crate them or lock them out during these hours. You’ll want your room at a cool temperature without lots of light. Diffusing some essential oils may also help by creating a calming effect.
- No Blue Light
Electronics can wreak havoc on a healthy sleep schedule. The dreaded blue light especially can wreck your circadian rhythm and keep your body from receiving the signals that it is time to wind down. During the day you may want to invest in some Blue Free Optical blue light glasses to help prevent eye strain. If you must use electronics before bed, this investment may be able to help you fall asleep at a normal time. For best results, avoid all electronics at least two hours before bedtime.
- Choose Calming Activities
If your brain has trouble winding down after long day, make a list of activities you enjoy that are also calming or soothing. Choose a fancy lotion that you only use at night, or dedicate this time to meditation. Some stretching or yoga can also help train your body to recognize when it is time for sleep. If you have a pile of books you’ve been meaning to get to, allow yourself to read at least a chapter every night before bed. This way, you’ll have activities that are appealing to you without being overstimulating.
- Be Consistent
If you schedule changes every day, it can be extremely difficult to keep routines. However, good sleep often depends on your ability to stick to a certain schedule. Your nighttime routine doesn’t have to be long or overly complicated, but if you can stick to those activities, your body will automatically associate this ritual with sleep. Like any habit, your nighttime routine will take time to cement in your brain, so don't give up even when you're tempted. After a month or two, you likely won't have to give this process a second thought.
If it were easy to get a decent amount of sleep every night, less people would be struggling with it. In a world full of distractions, when the distractions are only growing, healthy sleep schedules are constantly being threatened. In order to live a long and healthy life, utilize these steps for a better nighttime routine, and you should see a huge difference in the quality of your sleep.