For those of you who don’t know, if I don’t get a good night’s sleep then I am a wreck the next day! My energy is low, I have cravings, my mood is affected, the list goes on and on. That being said, I take my sleep VERY seriously. My nighttime routine is extensive, but I find that if I practice good sleep habits, then everything else just falls into place. I interviewed sleep specialist Dr. Whitney Roban in a recent podcast about how to, of course, improve our sleep. So, here are five takeaways that will help you get a good night’s rest.
First of all, if you think your sleep isn’t important, then think again. A lot of things happen to our bodies while we sleep; our immune system gets stronger, our body releases toxins, things transition from short-term to long-term memory, our muscles grow, and our hormones are regulated all while we’re sleeping. So, if you’re not getting good quality sleep, then a slew of health issues could arise.
1. Limit screen time before bed
Part of my nighttime routine includes limiting my screen time before bed. I will usually put my phone in another room two hours before bed so I can wind down for the night. The reason why you should limit your screen time before bed is because the blue light emitted from your phone, laptop or tablet tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime which decreases the body’s production of melatonin. Additionally, spending a lot of time on social media can cause a dopamine response which is not conducive to falling asleep.
2. Follow the 30/30 rule
If you wake up and can’t go back to sleep after 30 minutes, get out of bed or go to another space. There, try reading, doing some stretches or yoga, or anything that relaxes you (not looking at your phone!) for about 30 minutes, and then try to go back to bed. Otherwise, it could take you hours to fall back asleep and your mind will obsess over the fact that you can’t fall asleep. Getting out of bed and into a relaxing routine will help reset your seep cycle.
3. Take a shower or bath before bed
One way to increase melatonin production is to decrease your body temperature. While your body temperature increases with the hot water, it immediately decreases once you get out of the bath or shower. So, not only is it calming and relaxing, but physiologically, taking a shower or bath before bed can help your body prepare for sleep.
4. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
If you want to get into a good sleep cycle, then try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. If you have a hard time waking up in the morning, then chances are you don’t have a consistent sleep/wake cycle. Even if you aren’t going to bed at the same time each night, try waking up at the same time consistently. That will help your body naturally wake up at that time.
5. Sleep in a cooler temperature
Your bedroom should be between 60 ˚ and 68˚ at night when you’re sleeping. It’s the optimal temperature for quality sleep, so even if you run cold throughout the day, try turning down the heat at night. Most people who wake up with hot flashes are most likely sleeping in a room that’s too warm.
For more easy adjustments we can start making today to optimize sleep, the ideal nighttime routine, and so much more, listen to the full podcast episode here.