As we come into fall, many things start to change. The weather cools down, the leaves may begin to change colors, the sun goes down earlier and your social schedule from the summer may start slowing down.
This is a perfect time to review your sleeping habits, as all things (hopefully) are beginning to slow down. For me, this past summer, sleep wasn’t treated as a priority as it should have been and I plan to change that now. Hopefully you are already familiar with the many benefits of sleep, which aids in improving memory, lowering stress, helping you maintain a healthy weight, and allowing your body to repair and rejuvenate itself – among many other benefits, but today I’d like to talk about a few tips for scheduling your sleep. These have all been said before, but that does not make them any less important.
So how do you schedule sleep? Let’s break it down in three easy steps:
First step: simply establish your schedule. You’ve probably heard it before, and it may seem easy, but the most important tip to give regarding sleep is establishing a sleeping routine. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up the same time every morning will make falling asleep and waking up every morning, well, easier. This also means you should not sleep in later on the weekends than the weekdays; unfortunately there is no such thing as catching up on sleep. Monday morning comes much easier when waking up at the same time everyday becomes a habit.
Second step: plan your meals. Unfortunately a night cap isn’t the best thing to drink right before bed, nor trying to sleep on a full stomach. Experts say you shouldn’t eat or drink alcohol four hours before you plan to go to bed, or drink caffeine after 3 pm. If you need a little something before bed, Prevention has a list of bedtime snacks that help you relax.
Third step: follow a bed time routine. Just as it is important to stick to a bedtime, it is important to follow a bedtime routine. Choose a relaxing activity, such as reading a book, practicing yoga, prep for the next day, or really anything that doesn’t involve a TV, computer or screen of any kind the hour before your set bed time. Research shows that the blue light emitted from electronics disturbs sleep, so it is important to find something that does not involve screens.
Are you feeling tired every day, yet still having a hard time falling asleep at night? It’s time to make sleep a priority; you can start by following these three simple steps. If you are looking for more Web MD also offers some great advice on resetting your sleep cycle, including other activities that promote a good night’s rest.
Bonus: Become a morning person! A lot of people tell me that they are night owls, and that they just cannot fall asleep “early”. I will not try to change your habits, but if you’ve seen the benefits of waking up early from Prevention magazine and are interested in becoming a “morning person” The Greatist has a lot of excellent tips. If you still just can’t make the switch or work the night shift, that’s alright! You can still schedule your sleep, just adjust as needed. As we are winding down to winter, it is the perfect time to set sleep habits to last you all year.
How will you make your sleep a priority today? How do you schedule in your zzzzzs?
Disclaimer: I am no doctor or health professional. I simply want to continue spreading the word on what’s already out there! Please consult a health care professional if you are experiencing any major sleep issues.