From our friends at Hey, Pumpkin:
We know how important it is to eat healthily, to drink lots of water, and to move our bodies every day, but a lot of us forget to get in a good night’s rest. With so much on our plates, it can often feel like sleep is the first thing to go. Whether you’re cramming for your college final, waking up early to start work, or getting up in the middle of the night to take care of your child, sleep can be hard to come by.
However, there are so many important health benefits to getting a good night’s rest. Not only does it make you feel better, but it keeps your immune system strong and prevents you from catching illnesses. And, now that we’re really heading into cold and flu season (while also dealing with COVID-19), it’s so important to be getting enough sleep.
If you’re struggling to get in an adequate amount of sleep every night, here are so easy tips that may help you snooze a little longer.
We’re leaving fall behind and heading into winter — which means the sun is not around very much — but do your best to spend time outside in the sun.
Our bodies have a natural clock, also known as our circadian rhythm, and it tells our brain when we should fall asleep. Natural sunlight helps to keep our circadian rhythm healthy and works to improve our sleep quality. Even if you can only get outside for 30 minutes a day, make it a priority during your week.
I’ll be the first to admit I can get sucked into my phone right before bedtime, but it often leaves me lying wide awake for hours. Do yourself a favor and put your phone away, get off your computer, and even turn off the TV at least one hour before you want to hit the hay. Instead of turning to electronics, try reading, writing in a journal, or even doing a crossword puzzle.
Most of us need caffeine to function (I know I do), but if you’re having problems falling asleep make sure you’re not having caffeine too late in the day. In fact, try to not have anything with caffeine past roughly 2 p.m., especially if you like going to bed around 10 p.m.
Exercise is proven to help improve sleep, so make sure you’re getting enough of it throughout the week. Go for walks during the day, do a yoga class, or simply dance around the house — anything to move your body.
However, make sure you’re not exercising too close to when you want to fall asleep. Exercise gives us an immediate burst of energy, so if you work out too close to bedtime you won’t be able to fall asleep.
If worst comes to worst and you’re still struggling to fall asleep, try taking a sleep supplement. Melatonin is a very popular sleep aid that will make it much easier for you to fall asleep. Grocery stores also sell other sleep supplements that improve people’s quality of sleep, such as Olly and Rae.