Ok, this is easier said than done- right? Wrong. You can get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleeping through the night is not only good for your waistline, it’s great for productivity purposes, too. Here are my seven tips for getting more sleep each and every night!
#1. Don’t drink anything caffeinated after three in the afternoon. This sounds obvious, but it’s hard to do. Coffee, green tea (well, any tea), and sodas (which you shouldn’t drink anyway) are all sources of caffeine and beverages we’ve learned to drink well into our favorite primetime programs. Cutting off caffeinated drinks after three in the afternoon will improve your ability to go to sleep on time and stay asleep throughout the night.
#2. Keep your bedroom at 68°F and dark. This temperature is scientifically proven to help people sleep through the night. The warmer your room, the harder it will be to sleep. And bright lights or bright paint will not help your ability to sleep. Think ‘bat cave’ at a cool and crisp sixty-eight degrees.
#3. Have a ten minute bed time routine. This will help you psychologically prepare for sleep. Don’t just fall asleep whenever. Set a time and then setup a routine that allows your brain and body to cool down before you attempt to sleep. Some people write down what they’re thankful for, ten minutes before bed time, others pray, some people sit quietly and mediate. Do whatever works for you that doesn’t involve checking your phone or email.
#4. Take the clock out of your room. You don’t need this. You think you do, you don’t. Trust me and try it for a week. Your body will naturally know when to wake up once on schedule. So, put the alarm clock down the hall or outside the door until you can get your body trained to wake up on time and without the clock. Having a clock in your room adds a subconscious pressure that awaits tomorrow’s stress. Don’t think about time or tomorrow, remove the clock and focus on being present in your bed.
#5. Don’t eat heavy meals after seven at night. This will help you avoid digestive issues that will have you back and forth to the bathroom during the night. It also helps avoid foods that are likely to disrupt sleep. The same goes for drinking. Try not to drink anything (including water) an hour before your bed time to avoid unwanted interruptions.
#6. Shut off the phone. Many smart phones have sleep modes. Set your emergency numbers and ringtones to how you desire. Shut off email and other non-essential alerts. Make sure the phone is across the room where you can’t see, hear or sense it.
#7. Don’t go to the gym at night. Working out releases hormones and dopamine in the brain, which can make you feel great and even ambitious. So ambitious that you can’t seem to ‘settle down’ and you just have to send an email, plan out an idea or concept, etc. Plan your fitness routine for the mornings. Even if you have to wake up early, getting to the gym or walking early in the morning or late in the afternoon is far better than working out past dinner time.
Sleeping consistently is a crucial step in any fitness or weight loss routine. Getting a good night’s sleep can also help prevent strokes and heart disease and improve productivity. It also reduces stress levels. Don’t be one of these people who claim they don’t have time to sleep a full six to eight hours a night. That’s nonsense and it will eventually catch up to them medically. Our bodies sleep for a reason and we shouldn’t ignore our body’s natural urge to rest for more than four hours.
Sleep can also reduce how old you look. Proper sleep helps to improve skin elasticity and decreases bags under the eyes. By sleeping a minimum of six hours per night, for three months straight, you can take three to five years off of your appearance without any cosmetic procedure.
So look great, become healthier, and improve productivity simply by implementing these easy-to-follow seven tips into your daily routine!
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN, Personal Trainer