Sleep is essential to our success during our waking hours. A good night’s rest can leave you happier, healthier, and even smarter. As we move into the New Year, consider including revising your approach to sleep as one of your New Year’s resolutions.
Unfortunately, many challenges try to interfere with that good night’s rest: binge-watching the latest show, anxiety and worries, or even heartburn pain. While these frustrating factors may be out of your control, there are some healthy habits you can introduce to your nighttime routine to help improve your sleep. While the unprecedented problems of 2020 may have hindered our ability to set our worries aside and fall asleep, here are some tips to get better sleep during 2021.
- Create a sleep schedule that works for you
As 2020 introduced a new stay-at-home lifestyle, it is often difficult to draw boundaries between your designated work and relaxation times. Set aside at least seven to nine hours to get a restful night’s sleep.
While it can be tempting to turn off that alarm and sleep in on the weekends, try not to alter your sleep schedule by more than an hour to maintain a consistent sleeping pattern. Consistency allows for your body to develop a natural sleep and wake schedule to receive the best sleep all week long.
If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed, get yourself back out of bed and relax with a peaceful activity like reading or listening to calming meditations to tire yourself out before crawling back into bed.
Designate your bedroom as a space where you feel relaxed away from the pressures of work and household duties. Consider adding some plants to your room to help with calmness–and even oxygen. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool to encourage the ideal sleeping atmosphere.
2. Adjust your sleeping position
If you wake up to pain in the morning, consider adjusting your sleeping position to alleviate any discomfort. You might also opt for specialized sleeping pillows to target any key pain areas. For example, investing in an arm pillow that reduces shoulder pain may be a great natural remedy and help you get better shuteye.
3. Consider what you eat and drink before bed
While it can be a difficult balance to achieve, do not go to bed hungry, but do not go to bed too close to eating a large meal within a few hours of your bedtime. Try to space out your eating schedule throughout the day to avoid heavy foods prior to hitting the hay.
Avoiding caffeine after lunchtime can help the coffee buzz from keeping you up at night. Additionally, alcohol and nicotine use too close to bedtime can interrupt your sleep patterns.
4. Power down before bedtime
Turn off the television, shut down your computer, and put down your phone within one hour of bedtime. The blue light of these technologies can interrupt your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
Additionally, scrolling social media can keep your mind awake with added stress and worries. The news and social media updates can wait until the morning when you are well rested.
5. Stay active!
Working from home restricts our mobility throughout our day, so designating time to get in motion can help your physical and mental health. Physical activity during the day can do wonders to help you ease yourself to sleep. However, plan your workouts to fall a few hours before bedtime to allow your heart rate to rest before bedtime. Try investing in an activity app that helps guide your workouts.
While the added stress and anxiety of 2020 may have made it difficult to get a good night’s rest, the hope of a new year can hopefully allow you to sleep more soundly. And, hopefully, these tips can help to train your body to get the rest that you deserve in this new year.