As another daylight savings time comes to a close, some of us will find our sleep schedules struggling to adjust to the time change and the shorter days. But with a little extra effort, you will see positive effects on how you sleep at night and perform during the day.
Follow these tips to maximize your sleep so you can be at your best all day long.
- Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark – Sleep can be easily interrupted, and taking steps to prevent external stimulation is a great way to sleep soundly. Cooler temperatures are better in the bedroom, as the body cools itself as a way to help the process of falling asleep. A quiet environment helps keep the brain free from external stimuli so that it can conduct its sleep processes more efficiently. Darkness also suppresses the visual stimulation that can keep us awake during the night.
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes every day – There are many benefits to being in good physical shape, and improved sleep is one of them! Exercise stresses the body physically, which increases the amount of deep sleep you need as it recovers. Exercise also promotes a greater rise and fall in body temperature, which can make it easier to fall asleep and stay that way.
- Let the sun shine in – As important as it is to have darkness during sleep, it’s just as important to have light exposure in the morning to help with regulation of our circadian rhythms. Open the blinds, take an early morning walk outside, or sit near eastern-exposed windows. These simple ideas can allow our bodies to fall asleep more easily at night.
- Take a quick car nap – If you are tired while driving, simply pull over and take a little nap. The effects of driving while sleep-deprived is similar to the effects of driving while being under the influence of alcohol. Make sure you lock the doors, recline your seat, and take a 20-minute snooze. You’ll be amazed at the difference!
- Wake up at the same time every day – Your body needs to be both awake and asleep for a certain amount of time each day. Try to wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, to keep yourself on a good sleep schedule. When you sleep later than your usual wake-up time, it can push your bedtime further back. This vicious cycle can be difficult to break and prevent you from feeling your best during the day.
- Spend the hour before bed relaxing and unwinding – Avoid stress as best as you can before bed, as it can have a negative impact on your ability to fall asleep. Try to spend the hour before bed as relaxed and as comfortable as possible, perhaps even dimming the lights. Do your best to deal with stressful emails and other issues before this time, as these will interfere with your brain’s ability to fall asleep. Be as stress-free as you can before your head hits the pillow.
Follow these tips, and you’ll find that your sleep has improved and you will have an extra spring in your step!