How was you night’s sleep? Did you sleep restfully? Did you toss and turn? Did you stare at the ceiling? Did you try to solve the world’s problems before going to sleep? How about prepare for a meeting? Did you sleep enough? Did you wake up naturally and refreshed or by an alarm and groggy?
A good night sleep not only feels good but it improves your outlook on the day, increases your ability to cope with stress, enhances the strength of your immune system and improves your ability to begin everyday with you best foot forward.
These are simple yet often over looked lifestyle habits that can help improve your sleep.
1. Exercise regularly. Exercise decreases muscle tension and helps us relax. It helps to manage stress. However, do not exercise vigorously too close to bedtime, it can have the opposite effect. It can energize you at the wrong time of the day. Exercise vigorously early in the day and at night just a little stretching might do the trick.
2. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Our bodies appreciate consistency in sleep cycles. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
3. Limit caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine obviously is a stimulant. If you ingest caffeine, do it early in the day, avoid it after lunch. Alcohol creates restlessness by disrupting the sleep cycle. Often times you’ll fall asleep easily but wake up during the night and not be able to return to sleep.
4. Develop a calm “pre-bedtime” routine. Create a relaxed feeling with soft music, reading, pleasant conversation or soothing time with a spouse, child or pet. Avoid activity which may wind you up like an argument, an intense TV show or an exiting sporting event.
5. Stress management through out the day helps us sleep better at night. Stress management in bed, like calm breathing, consciously relaxing your body one muscle at a time, and pleasant visualizations.
6. If you can’t get something off your mind, write it down (let it go), you can address it in the morning. You’ll probably be better able to deal with it in the morning anyway.
7. And if all else fails, spend a few minutes thinking of things about which you are grateful. If you can’t fall asleep, at least you can enjoy your thoughts.
Sleep is a gift. Allow yourself to accept it each night. You will be amazed how a good night sleep will help you live your life more fully. Too many people compromise their sleep to accommodate poor habits. Make a good night sleep a priority.