Deep, restorative sleep is what fuels us, and with 7 to 9 hours recommended for adults by the National Sleep Foundation, many of us find ourselves falling short. More than 1/3 of US adults get less than the recommended amount, and lack of sleep not only makes it hard for us to feel energized throughout the day, but it can lead to a slew of health issues including diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Thoughts about the next day’s responsibilities or the pull of unanswered emails can distract us, and many of us fall asleep late in the evening without properly winding down. To help you stay healthy and energized, we put together some of our top tips.
Banish the Screens
Everyone says it, but the truth is that putting away screens an hour or two before bed can have a transformational impact on your quality of sleep. Besides stimulating the mind when you should be winding down, using your smartphone or watching Netflix delays the circadian rhythm, which makes it difficult to both fall and stay asleep. The artificial blue light emitted also delays the onset of REM sleep, meaning you’ll spend less time getting the deep rest you need. Take it one step further by turning your phone on airplane mode and placing it either in another room or away from your bed.
Although it takes some dedication, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This includes weekends, which may be intimidating, but once you get into the habit your body will regulate itself to that schedule. By regulating your inner clock, you’ll be able to fall asleep better and stay asleep until it’s time to wake up.
Avoid Caffeine Late in the Day
Another cup of coffee might help you get through the end of the day, but caffeine stimulates the nervous system and can stay in your system for 6-8 hours after consumption, keeping your body from properly winding down before bed. Try to avoid caffeine after the morning has passed, and sub a decaffeinated tea if you’re looking for a mid-day beverage.
Wind Down With a Calming Activity
In place of browsing the internet or scrolling through Instagram, try implementing calming activities into your evening routine that will help you settle down and prepare for bed. Reading a physical book is a great way to do so, as is drinking a soothing cup of tea. Taking a hot bath can also calm the body for a restful night of sleep as the change in temperature increases natural melatonin in the body. If you’re feeling especially depleted after a long day, we recommend a bath soak with magnesium, as magnesium relieves stress and eases sore muscles and joints all while supporting digestion and recovery.
Try Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Self Massage)
Abhyanga, an Ayurvedic ritual, is a self-massage that improves overall health, skin, and circulation. Daily practice flushes toxins from the skin by activating the lymphatic drainage system, which can help you sleep better. Using an oil, massage in circular upwards motions before showering.
Close Out the Day with Gratitude
Before heading to bed, take some time to write down three things that you’re grateful for, with a focus on what happened during that day. This helps foster a positive, grateful mindset, and can help you set the day to rest in a good light.