5 Tips for a Good Night's Sleep
Waking up feeling refreshed and ready to go for the day sounds more like a TV commercial than reality for most of us. We live in a 24/7 culture overstimulated with screens and blinks; it’s no wonder that more than one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No matter how many z’s you are able to catch each night, here are a few tips to help make sure that the sleep you do get is restful and rejuvenating.
1. Create a bedtime routine.
Try to spend five to ten minutes preparing for bedtime in a way that is relaxing to you and helps you disconnect from the world. Drink a glass of water, read a few pages, pet your dog. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent with it every night. This will cue your brain that it’s time to start getting ready to sleep and help your body transition from being awake to being asleep.
2. Turn down the heat.
Our body temperature naturally decreases to initiate sleep, so setting the thermostat for cooler temperatures can help you fall asleep faster and get a more restful night's sleep. Experts suggest a setting of anywhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too cold or too hot, you may grow restless through the night and wake up feeling more tired than awake.
3. Be consistent.
Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning (even on weekends!) will help your body find its natural rhythm of sleep and help you fall asleep faster at night.
4. Banish the smartphone.
Since a lot of us use a smartphone as an alarm in the morning, it often sits right next to the bed. As a result, the phone’s screen is often the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning. Because our brains are wired to associate light with the sun and thus, morning, the light emitted from your smartphone (or TV) screen can miscue the brain and promote wakefulness. It’s worth investing in a simple alarm clock and charging the phone in a different room. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of increased peace of mind from not seeing all the emails that came in overnight when you turn off your alarm!
5. Get those steps in.
Not only is your behavior at nighttime important for getting a good night’s sleep, but what you do during the day can have a huge influence on your quality of sleep as well. Doing any kind of exercise, light or vigorous, during the day can help you sleep better at night, not to mention that staying active has numerous other benefits!
It’s no secret that we all feel better and do better when we’ve gotten a quality night’s sleep. With a little intentionality, you can start waking up feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
For further reading on the topic of sleep, see Harriet Fitch Little's Kinfolk article "How to Sleep: A Short Guide."