Getting a good night’s sleep is just as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as eating right and getting regular exercise. Poor sleep negatively impacts your mood, brain’s performance, and hormones. Inconsistent sleep also can increase your risk of many health disorders and cause weight gain.
Sleeping well, however, improves your quality of life by helping you stay healthy and exercise better. With these benefits at stake, why not start forming healthy sleep habits today?
Keep Your Routines Consistent
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions best when you set consistent times for waking up and going to sleep. The circadian rhythm works on a set loop and aligns itself with the sunrise and sunset. Your body doesn’t function as well when you have irregular sleeping patterns or go to bed late. Some studies even indicate that irregular sleep alters your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin.
If you find you have difficulty sleeping, make a point of going to bed and setting the alarm for the same time each day.
Cut Out Caffeine and Alcohol
A cup of coffee often helps increase your focus and energy, but consuming caffeine later in the day often does more harm than good. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, which makes it difficult to relax and fall asleep at night. Avoid caffeine for at least six hours leading up to when you go to bed. If you find yourself craving a cup of coffee, switch to decaffeinated coffee instead.
Drinking alcohol before bed also negatively impacts your hormones and sleep pattern. Alcoholic drinks increase the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring, and can lead to dehydration and disrupted sleep. These beverages also change your melatonin production and, therefore, circadian rhythm.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Being exposed to light, especially blue light, in the evening can have a detrimental impact on your circadian rhythm. Light tricks your brain into believing it’s still daytime, which reduces hormones like melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep. The blue light produced by phones and computers is even more impactful.
For better sleep, limit your exposure to blue light at night. You can do this by using glasses that block blue light, or by downloading apps that filter out blue light on your devices. The best approach, however, is to stop watching TV or using your phone two hours before you go to bed.