4 Simple Sleep Habits
According to the CDC, adults need 7 or more hours of sleep a night. The consequences of sleep deprivation can make you cranky or tired and even hurt your health. Heart problems, cancer, weight gain and diabetes can be linked to chronic sleep deprivation. If one of your goals for 2021 is a healthier lifestyle, examining your sleep habits is a simple place to start.
Check out this sleep calculator to determine if you are getting enough rest.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to sleep disorders. Low levels of Vitamin D can make you so restless you can't fall asleep. Because your skin converts sun exposure to Vitamin D, the best way to get this vitamin is by spending time outdoors. Be cautious of too much sun exposure. You can wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and head, while still soaking in the sunlight. Make a daily habit of fun in the sun to improve your sleep!
Read more about relaxing supplements, like Vitamin D, to help you sleep.
2. Sleepy Foods
When you are really tired you might discover yourself snacking just to stay awake. These sleepy snacks can add a lot of calories to your diet, which leads to obesity and diabetes. Harness your snack attacks into intentional preparation for bedtime by eating foods high in melatonin. Try a melatonin rich snack before bed to improve your sleep health:
- Chamomile tea (chamomile is high in melatonin, plus the warm water will heat you up and prepare your body for rest)
- Bananas (not a melatonin rich food, but they do contain the muscle-relaxer potassium, which can promote sleep)
Learn more about what to eat (or not eat) before bed.
3. Squeeze Meditation
Squeeze, or muscle relaxation, meditation is a simple and mindful way to prepare your body for rest. Before bed my seven year old and I practice squeeze meditation, starting at the toes and working our way to the nose. He yawns at the end. Every. Single. Time. That's how relaxing (and easy!) this type of meditation is. Essentially, you tense a group of muscles for 5 to 10 seconds, then focus on relaxing them for 30 seconds. Practice with the video below the next time you are struggling to fall asleep. If you struggle with heavy, achy legs that prevent you from falling asleep, compression socks can be worn during the day to help your legs feel better when it's time to sleep at night. However, you should not wear compression socks to sleep in (unless your doctor gave you specific directions otherwise).
4. Sleep Routine
Maintaining a sleep routine is a key ingredient for the perfect night of sleep. A sleep routine may look like: going to bed at the same time every night, turning all screens off 30 minutes before bed and surrounding yourself with low light levels during those 30 minutes. Habits, like the ones I just listed, can be difficult to maintain. If they are too difficult or boring, you will be less likely to implement them and you won't adopt them into your own routine. Here are a few habits you haven't heard before that are guaranteed to make your sleep routine more fun (and sleepy):
- Add cool colors to your bedroom decoration
- Blue, green and gray can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, making your body more sleep-ready.
- Pillow spray
- A soothing scent can help you drift into a peaceful sleep
- Blow bubbles
- Yes, you read that correctly. Blowing bubbles can put your mind into a meditative framework, which will help you fall asleep. Plus, who doesn't like to look at bubbles?
- Buzz like a bee
- Inhale then hum on the exhale for 10 minutes before you fall asleep. This is a meditative practice, but it's fun, too.
Click here for additional habits to optimize your sleep routine. A good night of sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Comment below if you try one our sleep tips or you have one to share.
If you struggle to fall asleep, or stay asleep, you should consult your physician. The information and other content provided are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.