Sleep can make you smarter, happier, and healthier. But, more often than not, we find ourselves struggling to get that good night’s rest, which can leave us irritable and more susceptible to chronic conditions. The worries of 2020 may have increased your anxiety keeping you up at night, but as we enter this hopeful year of 2021, we can try to relieve some of those anxieties and get back to sleep.
Even if you are sleeping the recommended 7 to 8 hours a night, you may find yourself still waking up exhausted in the morning. As we enter the New Year, consider adding improving your sleep health to your list of New Year’s resolutions. These few tips will do wonders to help your sleep health; you’ll be amazed at how improving your sleep can improve your waking hours.
1. Turn off your phone and television
Scrolling through social media before bedtime can be tempting, but it can cause more harm than good. By looking at the news and social media posts, you can experience more anxiety and worries that keep you up at night.
Additionally, the blue light that your phone and TV omit can disrupt your circadian rhythm, or sleep pattern, causing difficulty falling asleep. Although binge-watching the latest show sounds like a great way to fall asleep, try to power down within an hour of bedtime to help yourself fall asleep easier. Instead of falling asleep to the sound of Netflix, consider adding a white noise machine to your bedtime routine. Try to keep your room dark and cool to improve your sleep health.
2. Create a sleep schedule–and stick to it!
Working from home makes it difficult to draw boundaries between working and relaxing. Decide on a time to set your work aside for the evening and allow yourself time to relax. Designate yourself a set bedtime with 7 to 8 hours to get a good night’s rest without the interference of your workday.
Consistency is key when it comes to your sleep schedule. While it may be tempting to sleep in on the weekend, try to avoid sleeping in for more than one hour past your workday wake up time. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can allow you to create a natural sleeping schedule to receive the best sleep possible.
3. Switch up your sleep posture
Your sleep posture can affect everything from your aching joints to snoring to acid reflux. By adjusting your sleep posture to benefit your body, you can maximize your sleep health.
Sleeping on your back can help with an equal alignment of your back and muscles. Sleeping on your stomach can help improve snoring. Sleeping on your side can help with acid reflux; additionally, those who are sleeping with acid reflux, find that sleeping on an incline can help improve symptoms of acid reflux.
4. Spread out your eating and drinking
Try to spread out your eating throughout the day. You want to avoid going to bed hungry, but you
don’t want to eat a large meal right before bedtime.
Drinking alcohol or using nicotine too close to bedtime can disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle to keep you up at night.
5. Stay active
While the work-from-home lifestyle can lead to a lot of sitting around, try to set aside time to get up and move around. It can be hard to stay healthy during the quarantine. Even a walk around the block, or a bike ride around the forest preserve, can help get your body moving.
However, try not to do too hard of a workout too close to your bedtime. Allow for your heart rate and energy to rest before you get your good night’s rest.
Knowing your body and its relationship to sleep can allow you to make the changes to improve your sleep health. Consider trying a sleep tracker to monitor your sleep patterns. As we move into 2021, sleep can allow us to make amends with the problems of 2020.