In today’s culture, sleep has become one of the most underappreciated aspects of our health. However, a consistent sleep schedule is just as important to your overall health as diet and exercise.
Not only can sleep deprivation make you feel sluggish, but it can actually make you sick. Consistent sleep strengthens your immune system, and without it, your body may not be equipped to fight off illness effectively.
So, what can you do to start sleeping better?
Not all foods are created equal when it comes to sleep quality. Foods that are high in sugar and carbs tend to negatively affect sleep quality, as does eating large amounts right before bed.
Fruits such as kiwis and tart cherries have been linked to better sleep because they contain large amounts of antioxidants. Tart cherries also have a high concentration of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. Nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios are also filling, mineral-packed snacks that can help you sleep better.
Move Your Body
Go ahead and add better sleep to the long list of health benefits that exercise provides. Numerous studies have linked regular physical activity to improved sleep quality. Intense exercise too close to bedtime can negatively impact your body’s ability to wind down, but there are plenty of opportunities to move your body in little ways throughout your day. Learn how with four easy ways to stay active while working from home.
Step away from your devices. The blue light in electronic displays blocks the sleep hormone melatonin, making it harder for us to wind down before bed. Make a goal to put your devices away 30 minutes to one hour before bed. Check out our blog post on how screen time affects your health for more tips on stepping away from the screen.
Creating a tranquil and comfortable environment in your bedroom will help you fall asleep faster. Low, warm lighting encourages melatonin production, so turn on lamps or light candles instead of using large overhead lights. Candles and diffusers can also help you relax with lavender scents. You want to keep your environment as quiet as possible, but if there’s outside noise you can’t control, try a white noise machine or soft music.
Relax Your Mind
Do something right before going to sleep that helps you wind down your thoughts. Gentle yoga, meditation, or reading for the last 10 minutes before lights out will help ease your body and mind. Click here to learn five simple yoga poses that will help you sleep better!