Sleeping isn’t always the relaxing practice that it’s meant to be. For many, it’s a stressful affair, and even more so in our increasingly fast paced lives. How you sleep affects almost every aspect of your day-to-day life, and running on little or bad sleep is counterproductive, not to mention unhealthy. Here are some healthy sleeping habits that don’t require fancy gadgets, and that you can implement into your sleep schedule starting tonight.
Routine, routine, routine
The human body reacts positively to routine; once you get it accustomed to doing something repeatedly you may start to feel like you’re on autopilot and simply moving through the motions. When it comes to sleep, there’s no difference. There’s a reason children have a very specific bedtime. If you establish a nighttime routine and attempt to go to bed at a similar hour every night and do a similar sequence of activities regularly, your body will know exactly when its time for some sweet dreams.
This doesn’t just apply at night. Waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends) establishes a beneficial routine for your body and if you are getting enough sleep, you should just wake up naturally at your usual hour. If you need to rely on an alarm clock, then you should consider adjusting your bedtime.
Let there (not) be light
Everyone knows that electronics such as your TV or cell phone are stimulating and should be avoided before laying your head to sleep at night, but did you know that the light also affects you? If you thought reading on your e-reader before bed took you out of this category, think again. It is still considered a stimulant and the only way to avoid this is to use an e-reader without any backlight whatsoever. The solution? Simulate real reading. Turn off any backlight on your device and use a bedside lamp.
Ever wake up to use the washroom in the middle of the night just to find you can’t fall back asleep again after? Light also plays a role into this common problem. Keeping your light intake to a minimum will help you fall back asleep easier, so instead of flipping on an overhead light when this happens, it’s best to keep a flashlight by your bed.
Meditation meets Namaste
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may want to consider bringing some yoga inspired meditation practices into your sleep schedule. Your bed should be an oasis of rest and relaxation, a place where your mind and body come to recharge. Try some progressive muscle relaxation to but your body at ease. Tense all your muscles (beginning with your toes) and slowly release the stretch, one by one. By the time you work your way up to your head, you should be in la la land.
Breathing is just as important to sleep as it is to yoga. Becoming not only aware of your breathing, but in tune to it, will help you focus on relaxation. Take slow, deliberate deep breathes in, and then let each one completely out.
The key to creating any habit is repetition, as well as experimentation. It’s about finding the right recipe for sleep success for you and your bed. No matter what method you determine is best for you, consistency is crucial to achieving a balanced life and feeling fresh every morning.
Have you tried any of these healthy sleep habits? Which worked best for you?