Hey Angels and Alphas,
There’s so much we can say about sleep. If you decide to go to bed early and get some quality sleep tonight, you’ll not only feel more focused and energized in the short-term, but you’ll also start reaping the massive long-term benefits of 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
As they say, quality sleep is one of nature’s best medicines.
Every night when you decide that you’re going to get great quality, consolidated sleep, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning, resulting in more activity and productivity throughout the day.
Over time, this positive loop of getting quality sleep and having productive days leads to lower stress and lower blood sugar, significantly reducing the risk you’ll face health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
But the question remains – how do we actually improve the quality of our sleep?
Not to be mistaken with sleep quantity, sleep quality is a phenomenon that truly thrives in importance because it’s at the core of any sleeping disorder or issue you might have. If you get 8 hours of low-quality sleep at night, you’ll wake up feeling more sluggish and tired than you were at night.
However, if you are to get in 8 hours of quality sleep every night, you’ll transform your life, your health, and your fitness.
The answer to the question “how do we improve sleep quality?” is and has always been: healthy bedtime habits.
That’s why today, we’re looking at 5 easy, straightforward habits you can start developing today that will impact your sleep quality positively and help you start feeling energized and refreshed every single morning.
HEALTHY SLEEP HABIT #1 – LEARN TO RELAX
How many of us actually make the conscious choice to relax before we decide to go to sleep? How many of us consciously make the shift between “go-mode” and “sleep- mode” during bedtime?
Ideally, you’re going to want to find a tech-free activity you can do for about 30 minutes before bed. You can read a book, do some yoga or meditation, plan out your next day, write in your journal, perform a breathing exercise, drink a cup of caffeine-free tea, take a warm bath or shower, or do pretty much anything that gets you to wind down and end the day on a relaxing note.
HEALTHY SLEEP HABIT #2 – PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE
The constant loop of cruising Instagram and checking your e-mails not only makes it very difficult to wind down but also exposes you to blue light from your phone and screen that messes with your brain. To the brain, lights signal “day”, and your brain is going to try and stay awake as long as it is under the perception that’s its daytime.
That’s why there’s a growing community of people right now that stop using electronics between 30-60 minutes before going to bed and report more vivid dreams and more restful and fulfilling sleep.
While this is a habit that’s going to take some struggle to get used to, do your best to replace your pre-bed tech time with a relaxing activity such as reading a book. This will limit the temptation to check email by keeping you engaged and, as we mentioned in our first point, will relax you and wind you down.
HEALTHY SLEEP HABIT #3 – AVOID MEALS AND CAFFEINE
The digestive stress put on your body by caffeine, alcohol, or any type of heavy meal can and will interfere with your body’s natural sleep process. Do your best to avoid caffeine and heavy meals in the evening and try to finish your dinner at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Caffeine and alcohol create different reactions in different people, so you might have to experiment to find your stopping point. However, if your stomach starts rumbling around midnight, it’s okay to have a small snack before you go on about catching your Z’s.
Many snacks such as Greek yoghurt mixed with berries or peanut butter toast contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is used in the production of serotonin and melatonin, chemicals that promote your body’s natural sleep process.
HEALTHY SLEEP HABIT #4 – STAY OUT OF BED
Yes, you read that right. There are certain things that only your bedroom should be used for – and watching TV isn’t one of them. Neither is working or exercising.
Your brain creates a natural association in your mind that beds are linked to sleeping, so if you’re laying around all day in your bed working on your laptop, don’t be surprised when you start feeling tired all day.
If you can’t sleep, resist the urge to scroll through social media or watch TV while you’re in bed. Get out of bed and go to another room, relax and unwind, and then go to bed when you’re actually ready to fall asleep.
HEALTHY SLEEP HABIT #5 – COOL DOWN YOUR ROOM
As the body is preparing for sleep, the body temperature drops. However, if your bedroom is too hot, or you exercise too close to your bedtime, your body won’t have the opportunity to cool off, making falling asleep much, much harder.
To promote and encourage sleep, try avoiding exercising before bed (if that’s your thing) or switching off the A/C. Keep in mind that most people tend to fall asleep easily when the temperature of their bedroom is about 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and focus on doing what’s best to optimize your bedroom temperature.
Cooling mattresses, lighter clothing, and air conditioners can help if your room is too hot during Summer.
More ways to improve sleep quality…
One of the best pieces of advice on quality sleep you could ever get is to check in with yourself and see if there’s something preventing you from falling asleep, as it is likely the same thing worsening your sleep quality. If there’s some stress or anxiety in your life that is keeping you up at night, putting away electronics won’t really help you that much.
That’s why it’s important to check in with yourself often and do your best to ease your worries through relaxation and meditation.
Another great way to improve sleep quality is to keep a sleep diary. Write down when you think you fell asleep, what time you got up, and how many times you woke up during the night. Describe any additional details about your evening routine that might have played a role in your sleep.
Put these tips and habits together, and you’ll create an unshakable sleep routine that will have you feeling energized and refreshed every morning. That’s a promise.