8 ways to improve sleep

Sleep Hygiene

Hey – You! How are you feeling today? Take a moment to tune into yourself. Would you rate yourself as feeling energized? Well-rested? Or are you at the other end of the scale, feeling run-down or even exhausted?

Did you know studies have found that people between the ages of 32 and 49 who sleep fewer than 7 hours each night are significantly more likely to be obese?!

With most of us cooped up at home these days, having the time to sleep shouldn’t be an issue. Whats more important is having a consistent bedtime and even waking up at the same time. Even if you’re going to bed much later than usual, and sleeping in later, this shift in hours should still be consistent. Try going to bed within the same 30-45 minute window each night and waking at roughly the same time each day.
Most adults don’t need still their parents telling them to get to bed. Usually “real life” brutally shows us when we’ve under slept and how it can ruin our mood, schedule, diet, productivity, and even family/social time. Now I’m not going to tell you to go to bed before the sun goes down, and I’m not going to force you to wake up at 4 am to get a workout done. 
Life is busy. Period. We have so many things puling us away from restful slumber… streaming TV, endless social network scrolling, double shifts and late hours, family get-togethers, errands and not to mention any personal hobbies or interests. Sleeping consistently, however, remains a choice amoungst everything else on your list and it’s something that you choose to prioritize, or not. 

The exercise I’d like you to do today is to reflect on your own sleeping behaviors…

Are you getting 7-9 hours each night?  If not, why?  Do you engage in any negative habits that are tripping you up and stalling progress?   
Precision Nutrition has identified 8 factors that effect nearly everyone’s sleep quality and quantity. How does each factor effect you? (Questions adapted from Precision Nutrition)
  • Consistency:  Do you go to bed within the same 1-2 hour window each night? Do you wake up in the same 1-2 hour window each morning? If not, what causes you to be inconsistent? 

  • Light: Is your bedroom very dark at night? Do you have screens or bright lights on right up until the minute you want to sleep? 

  • Noise: Are there any irregular noises in your bedroom that might disturb you? Are there any constant noises (such as white noise or a fan) that help you fall or stay asleep?

  • Routine: What do you do in the 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep? What does “getting ready for bed” actually look like for you? 

  • Temperature: What temperature do you keep your bedroom? Do you often wake up because you are too cold or too hot? Do you have to open or close windows or otherwise change the temp of the room in the middle of the night? 

  • Stimulants: What’s the latest time of day you have a cup of coffee, your last cigarette, your last alcoholic drink, or any stimulating medications or supplements?

  • Exercise: Does the time of day you exercise effect your daily energy or your restful sleep? Exercising at night can rev people up, but for others it may act as an outlet for excess energy and help them fall asleep. 

  • Fullness: Are your dinners too large? Are you snacking or grazing between dinner and bedtime? How many hours are between your last meal/snack and your typical bed time? 

Whats ONE thing you can try tonight to get more restful sleep? 


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