One of the most crucial health habits is getting restful sleep. Unfortunately, the value of sleep is often overlooked as people focus on being productive, working more, exercising, and optimizing diet. But not getting enough sleep harms hormonal health, brain function, and weight. To build healthier habits, try these 5 tips for better sleep.
1. Set screen time boundaries
Perhaps the single most significant barrier to getting a good night’s sleep in today’s culture is the abundance of screen time. Tablets, smartphones, and even television can all interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm. This is because these devices emit blue light, which suppresses the natural production of melatonin. Try using blue light blocking glasses or change the settings on electronic devices to prevent blue light within a specific timeframe. For best results, avoid screen time altogether for at least an hour before bedtime.
2. Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine isn’t all bad. The ingredient can improve focus, boost energy, and increase athletic performance. But overconsumption, especially close to bedtime, can harm sleep cycles. One study found that caffeine disrupted restful sleep when consumed within 6 hours of bedtime. For those who love sipping coffee all day, experts recommend switching to decaf in the afternoons.
3. Create a sleep haven
Artificial light can send a false message to the brain that morning has arrived. Create a bedtime environment where light is low, and the room is cool enough to be comfortable. Consider black-out curtains so that the sun doesn’t send wake-up signals before the alarm goes off. Scan the room for oft-forgotten sources of artificial light, such as the glow of power buttons on electronics or street lamps or porch lights.
4. Consider supplements
Melatonin, the chemical that signals the body to go to sleep, is available as a supplement for people who need extra help getting to sleep. Gingko balboa or valerian root are other natural supplement options. Lavender can also help people feel more calm and ready for bed.
5. Stick to a schedule
Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning can be helpful. Even on weekends, stick to the same sleep routine. Additionally, sticking to other healthy habits, such as exercising daily, can lead to a more restful sleep at night.
Getting enough sleep can improve memory, concentration, and mood. The importance of healthy sleep habits should not be overlooked. For more information about building this health habit, speak with a healthcare provider.