Sleep deprivation can make your mind feel sluggish and your body lack energy. Just getting out of bed in the morning can be incredibly difficult, not to mention staying sharp for a morning meeting or getting a workout in during the afternoon. Getting a good night’s sleep does not have to mean taking sleep aids or medication. Simple readjustments to your lifestyle and making sleep a priority can help create a healthy daily rhythm and have profound effects on your quality of sleep.
The Importance of a Sleep Routine
Consistency is one of the keys to sleeping well. Continually changing the time you go to sleep and wake up in the morning can leave your body confused and lead to sleep deprivation. Although you may feel tired, you may still have trouble tuning out and falling asleep. Resetting your circadian rhythm, or natural sleep cycle, by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day can help your body know when it’s time to wind down at the end of a long day.
We place a significant emphasis on bedtime routines for children, but we tend to fall out of those habits as adults. Taking the time to relax before going to bed can help signal to your body that it’s time for sleep. Turn down the lights, turn off the television and put away your laptop a few hours before crawling into bed. Don’t participate in stimulating activities right before bed either. Try to stay quiet to set the mood for relaxation, such as taking a warm bath before bed. By having a routine every night, your body and mind can start to switch into sleep mode.
Eat Right for the Best Sleep
It may be obvious that you should avoid caffeine in the afternoon and early evening if you want to avoid sleep deprivation, but eating big meals, fatty foods or meals that may cause heartburn can keep you awake too. Other diet factors such as food allergies or sensitivities to dairy or gluten can cause restlessness that affects your sleep.
Drinking too many liquids before bed can leave you with a full bladder that interrupts your sleep. Once you wake up in the middle of the night, it can be difficult to go back to sleep, so it’s beneficial to try to prevent night waking before it occurs. Also keep in mind that although alcohol may make you drowsy, it can cause you to sleep lightly and wake frequently.
Exercise the Body to Stimulate Sleep
Exercising earlier in the day can help you sleep at night. Working out regularly helps relieve the anxiety and stressful thoughts that may keep you awake at night. Outside activity and being exposed to bright light during the day can help reset your circadian rhythm and prevent sleep deprivation. But keep in mind that exercise before bed may cause you to have trouble winding down right away, so make sure to exercise long before you plan on turning in for the night.