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Start getting a better night’s sleep
For a few minutes, let’s forget about all of the external factors that keep you from getting a restful night of sleep. There is no shortage of outside influences—from fussy pets to stress at work—that can encroach on our down time and impede our sleep. There is no silver bullet solution that can deliver lasting and consistent results, but by focusing on a few key strategies that are under your control, you can start seeing fast improvement in your quality of sleep.
Go to bed and wake up and the same time…every day
Your body has a natural cycle that promotes sleep called the circadian rhythm. When we go to bed at different times throughout the week, we scramble our circadian rhythm and our body has a harder time finding the deep and consistent rest that it needs. Pay attention to what time your body begins to get tired at night, and then set a consistent time that you go to bed and wake up (even on the weekends!). You may be surprised how quickly this consistency can promote a healthy sleep pattern.
Limit screen time
Your brains takes in a lot of visual stimulation throughout the day, and it needs a break. The blue-tinted lights that typically glow from your phone and TV screens are particularly disruptive for our circadian rhythm. Try to take a break from TV and phone scrolling for at least an hour before you go to sleep. Some people opt for reading books or listening to music instead, but anything that limits bright lights and digital screens before bed is a good idea. You can also install apps on your devices that dim brightness and cut blue light emission.
Exercise during daytime
There are plenty of studies that show the correlation between getting regular exercise and getting better sleep. Exercising is beneficial even if you can only dedicate a few minutes every day to a walk or some light stretching, but the benefits increase once you start getting into more dynamic exercise. Although vigorous exercise has lots of upsides for improved sleep, it’s also good to limit these exercises to at least a few hours before bedtime. The energy that your body uses during heavy workouts can trigger other bodily functions and keep you stimulated for hours, so keep these workouts to the morning or afternoon.
Watch what you eat and drink
It’s no secret that your diet is closely tied to your quality of sleep. If you want to sleep better at night, you can’t cut corners in your diet. Moderation is key, both for what you consume and when. Avoid big meals or lots of liquids right before bed, and limit stimulants like caffeine throughout the day. Try to eat at least three meals a day, and cut back on refined sugar and carbohydrates when snacking.
We can’t always build a perfectly silent and comfortable bedtime experience. But any small effort you can make to limit noise, light and temperature changes will aid your sleep patterns, too. Try to improve your bedroom environment by using things like white noise machines, ear plugs, heavy curtains, sleep masks or weighted blankets to block outside distractions. Creating a bedtime routine with breathing exercises or meditation can also helps you exert some control and relax before bed.