We've previously discussed the many benefits of getting a good night's sleep, and if you're like most people, you would like to enjoy these benefits! The thing is, actually turning off the lights and setting your phone down is a lot easier said than done.
The good news is, when there's a will, there's a way. In the case of getting a good night's sleep, there are actually several ways to achieve your goal.
If you're committed to getting consistently solid sleep time and reaping the many benefits, here are 5 habits that can get you on the road to Snoozeville.
5 Habits That Can Lead to a Good Night's Sleep
Getting your body into a consistent sleep schedule will make it easier to fall asleep when the time comes. This means going to sleep and waking up at the same time. While sleep experts recommend doing this even on weekends, if you can't manage that, don't worry. Just make sure you get to bed on time during the week, and that should be enough to make it easier to fall asleep. When determining which time you should go to sleep and wake up, listen to what your natural circadian rhythm is telling you. Everyone has a different body clock, some people are night owls and some are early birds — figure out which one you are and plan accordingly.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, getting a daily dose of exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improves the quality of that sleep. So incorporating exercise into your routine is a win-win situation — not only will you get the many health benefits of exercise, but you'll also get a good night's sleep!
Parents of young kids know that bathtime is best before bedtime because a bath can be very soothing and relaxing. Also, when parents make this a daily routine, bathtime becomes the signal to let kids know the bedtime is approaching. Similarly, many parents read their children a story before bedtime. The idea is the same as the bath — parents create a routine for their children to enable better sleep habits.
Unfortunately, we tend to lose these habits as we get older, but researchers say that practicing a relaxing bedtime ritual is also a good way for adults to get a better night's sleep. Whether it's a bath, a book, a cup of herbal tea, yoga — you can choose any relaxing activity that speaks to you. The catch? No screen time. Read on and you'll see why.
Similar to bedtime rituals, it's not only children who can benefit from limited screen time. Sleep disorders specialist, Harneet Walia, MD, recommends avoiding blue light 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed. Blue light is that light that's emitted from many devices, most notably, smartphones, but also computers, laptops, flat-screen televisions and more. The reason for powering down is that blue light has been shown to suppress melatonin, the hormone responsible for making us feel sleepy. If melatonin is suppressed, we end up going to sleep later and also have a harder time falling asleep when we finally do put down the phone.
If your room is too hot or too cold, it can negatively impact your sleep. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 65°F. Temperature above 71°F can cause restlessness while temperature below 53°F can make it hard to fall asleep. So remember, cooler is better than hotter, but not too cool.