We’ve all experienced it—that moment when the alarm blares and you groggily slap around in a futile attempt to silence the noise, barely able to pry open your sleep-deprived eyes.
Too many of us deal with sleep disturbances or disorders; one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly. Over time, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your metabolism, energy levels, mood, and can even make your body more prone to illness and injury.
You don’t need to have full-blown insomnia in order to re-assess your sleeping patterns. These are seven things that people who always get a good night’s sleep swear by.
They commit to a regular workout schedule
Want to ensure that you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow? Get moving. By getting yourself on a regular workout schedule, you’ll accomplish two things: First, you’ll normalize your circadian rhythms, which is the physiological cycle that tells us when to sleep, wake, eat, and drink. Our bodies’ circadian rhythms are regulated by our hormones, and hormones are partially regulated by diet and exercise.
And working out physically exhausts you—which helps you fall asleep more quickly.
They don’t nap … unless they have to
Remember those circadian rhythms? Turns out they’re vital to normalizing our sleep patterns. And when you throw in a midday slumber—even if it’s just a 20-minute cat nap—it can throw off your body’s natural sleep cycles. Do your best to skip on the naps, unless you’re truly lacking rest.
They always set the alarm
Even when they’re so not feeling the 6 a.m. wake-up call, people who always get a good night’s sleep always heed the alarm. It goes back to that annoying circadian rhythm thing … and it gives you structure. It is possible to oversleep—and that can make you feel even more fatigued and groggy throughout the day. Of course the goal is to get seven to eight hours of sleep, but even when you don’t get a full night’s worth of shut eye resist the urge to sleep in! It’ll only keep you from getting to bed the next evening.
They practice self-care
People who always seem well-rested are excellent at prioritizing their own self-care practices, perhaps without even realizing it. They hop in a bath before bed, or take a moment to journal every evening, or simply make a cup of tea before hitting the hay. It may seem simple, or even silly, but indulging in these practices daily can help manage stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep at night.
They only drink coffee in the morning
It’s no secret that Americans are over caffeinated—the average coffee drinker puts back nearly 3.2 cups a day. And that caffeine addiction can have a big impact on sleep patterns. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it works incredibly well at keeping you awake and alert during the day … and through the night. Not everyone reacts strongly to caffeine, but those that do should avoid drinking coffee or stimulants after 3 p.m.
They set their phone to “Airplane mode” as soon as they get home
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your social feeds until the wee hours of the morning, put down your phone at least three hours before bed. The blue light from the TV, phone, and computer disrupts circadian rhythms and tricks your body into thinking it’s earlier in the day then it actually is. Even better, switch to “Airplane mode” as soon as you get home to limit all distractions, notifications, and temptations.
They eat healthy, regular meals
If you’ve ever tried to go to bed after chowing down on a gargantuan feast, you’ve experienced first-hand how difficult and uncomfortable sleeping can be on a full stomach! It makes sense that what, and how, we eat affects our ability to get a good night’s rest. Many of these tips stress the importance of maintaining a normal routine, because that’s how you’ll train your body to know when it’s time to sleep, and when it’s time to be active. The same goes for eating.
Whether you decide to eat three medium-sized meals at traditional meal times, or one large meal, or to snack throughout the day, try to stick with one regular option. Meal times and specialized diets affect everyone differently, so work with a Health Coach to find an eating style that makes you feel good and compliments your sleep patterns.
Do you find it easy to fall asleep at night? Share your tips with us below!