Five Habits for Optimal Sleep
So you go to bed at a reasonable hour, your fitness and nutrition game is top tier, but you still wake up groggy, and maybe even your wellness tracking device said your sleep was less than stellar. What’s the deal? You might have to look at your daily routine as a whole to get the entire picture. So let’s break it down together. We pulled together 5 top habits for you to put into play to optimize your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
This might seem fairly obvious, but are you getting fitness into your daily routine or just here and there? We’re not talking a hard-hitting workout or a full hour of martial arts training. It could be as simple as a 30-minute walk on your “rest days” or stretching and mobility. Anything to get the blood flowing, heart-rate pumping, and muscles activated. A study found that consistent exercise routines led to an increase in “total sleep times, sleep efficiency, and sleep quality”. Plenty can argue that the time that you exercise can also impact sleep, but any exercise, during any time of the day is extremely beneficial – so do what works for your lifestyle!
This one might be a sensitive topic if you have the age-old fight with your partner over the thermostat in your house, but if you like it cold, we have some science to back you up. In our blog, “Taking the Plunge: Benefits of Cold Exposure”, you know over at Wodify we aren’t afraid of a little cold – especially when there are health and wellness benefits that come along for the ride! So, it’s no surprise we’re going to highly suggest turning that thermostat down at nighttime. A study done by The National Library of Medicine found that higher temperatures affect both slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep by causing sleep disturbances. So before you put on your jammies and snuggled in, dial down to the suggested 65° and get ready for the deepest sleep of your life.
The less noise the better to help your mind settle from the day. There are also plenty of people that need sounds to fall asleep too, such as the television, but we want to avoid blue light as much as possible (more on that later). A great idea would be a sound machine or even a fan. The fan is a great way to kill two birds with one stone: cool temp and nice peaceful “whirring” sound to lull you into that deep REM sleep. Less noise = less disruptive sleep.
Cut the Screens & Minimize (Blue) Light
Between the computer during the workday, smartphone access 24/7, and the television, our minds and eyeballs rarely get the rest they deserve. The National Sleep Foundation suggests shutting down these devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Partnering that with pulling the shades and turning the lights down low and you’ll be set for a night of successful sleep. The lack of light signals your brain that it is time to start winding down for the day. In addition to turning the lights off, consider investing in some blue-light-blocking glasses. They are fairly cheap and easily accessible! The belief behind blue-light blockers is they help reduce eye-strain and you guessed it, get a night of better sleep.
Be Consistent and Calm
Creating a circadian rhythm is imperative to optimizing your sleep. Circadian rhythm is essentially your body’s internal clock. Do you start to yawn and get sleep at the same time every night? That is your body’s clock kicking in telling you it’s about that time. Without being consistent with sleep and wake times, your body is not able to catch on and release your sleepy hormone: melatonin. Yup, melatonin is not just the gummies you can buy at your local drugstore. It is the natural hormone that gets released in your body at night that is essential for optimal sleep patterns. Pair consistent sleep and wake times with nightly routines to help send signals from the body to the brain that you are prepping for bed. This will help the melatonin hormone kick into high gear each night to promote optimal sleep.
Did you find these sleep tips helpful and have others that you want to share? Be sure to do so and tag us on social media, @wodify!