Good Sleep Habits
Although it seems like common sense, it doesn’t hurt to make sure that you are practicing good sleep habits. Here are the recommendations that I have for anyone who is experiencing sleep issues or trying to improve sleep quality:
- Make sure to get regular, vigorous physical activity. If you increase the intensity of your workouts you might find that doing vigorous activity may be better for you in the morning. Some people might find they are wide-awake if they exercise vigorously within a few hours of bedtime. Also, increasing the intensity of your activity can significantly affect your post exercise oxygen consumption as well as affect your hormones so be aware of this – it might mess with your sleep!
- I recommend trying to get as much of your exercise during daylight hours and do it outside in the fresh air if possible. If you live in a climate like the one where I live, you might be forced to exercise indoors because the roads are so ridiculously icy you can’t even get down to the end of your driveway without taking a spill. However, when possible, get outside.
- Don’t take naps. If you are so exhausted during the day that you have to take a nap – don’t do it. You are better off to move your bedtime earlier if you are inclined to take naps.
- Try to keep a regular schedule as much as possible. That includes the time you go to sleep and the time you wake up. Your weekends might allow you to stay up later. Try to get to sleep as close to your week-day times as usual and don’t sleep in several hours past the time you would normally wake up during the week.
- Make sure that the environment you sleep in is dark, cool, and free of noises that will wake you up unnecessarily.
- Don’t go to bed really hungry or too full. You are better to go to sleep with less in your stomach. Digestion takes work for your body and can increase body temperature.
- Limit your exposure to electronics a few hours before bed. If you like to read before bed, I would suggest that you stick to the old school version of good-old-fashioned books.
- Don’t hang out where you sleep. Simple as that. Don’t lie where you sleep working on your Ipad, laptop, or watching TV. Use the space for sleep.
- Manage your stress as best as possible. A tool that works well for me is to keep a notepad by my bed. It’s inevitable that when your head hits the pillow that you might start thinking about all kinds of stuff. I use pen and paper to help me “park” all the stuff I need to remember or worry about so that I know I can pick it up in the morning. Laying around thinking and worrying about it doesn’t do anyone any good. Either get up and do something about it, or pick it up in the morning.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. If you must rely on it, have it close to your wake-up time.
- You may have luck with using a meditation or progressive relaxation application on your phone. (You can listen to this on headphones without breaking my other rule of looking at your phone before bed.)