The right amount of sleep can help improve brain function, boost productivity, and combat stress. But in our overworked society in which the normal workweek normally surpasses 40 hours, it’s hard to get the recommended amount of shut-eye. So, with that in mind, consider these tips to improve the quality of sleep you’re getting.
Cut down on your blue light exposure
For many of us, our smartphone is basically surgically attached to our palm. Unfortunately, the screen on most smartphones emits blue light. And if you use it after sunset, it can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. That means are brains are duped into reducing melatonin production, the natural hormone that helps our bodies relax and fall asleep.
Smartphones aren’t the only blue light culprits. Laptops, televisions and other electronic screens also produce this type of light. It's best to cut down your screen time when it's evening.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
It’s hard to relax right after you worked on a stressful project for the office. Adults need a bedtime routine just like children. Make it a point to mentally power down at least one hour before your typical bedtime. Maybe a relaxing shower or a lavender-scented bath before bed. Whatever you choose, be consistent in scheduling downtime right before you go to sleep so that your mind will be relaxed.
Be mindful of what you consume
Sleeping on a full stomach is a great way to gain weight because you’re not actively burning those calories. What else? It can keep you up at night. Research has shown that the optimal time frame between a meal and bed is four hours. When you eat too close to bedtime, you can inhibit the production of melatonin and HGH. Likewise, avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime. Both beverages can keep you up, which can reduce the total hours you get to sleep.
Avoid late night exercising
A workout can rev you up for quite some time. That's great news for those who enjoy hitting the gym first thing in the morning, but it isn't what those who try to squeeze in a lift after work want to hear. Research has shown that morning workouts can help to alleviate insomnia symptoms, so you have yet another reason to go for a run before the workday starts.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment
It’s hard to relax if your environment is uncomfortable. Creating surroundings that help you fall and stay asleep is of the utmost importance when it comes to catching some z's. Keep your room at a comfortable, cool temperature. If need be, invest in blackout shades or curtains to keep your room dark. For some people, this may mean that they can’t have a television in their room because of the blue light. Most importantly, don’t forget to invest in a mattress and pillows that provide you with the support you need to be comfortable and wake up refreshed. The cost of these items will pay off in the long run.