The Importance of Rest: How to Improve Your Sleeping Habits

We all dread having to push through a day at work while exhausted, and often recognize that a night of poor sleep is to blame.  But have you ever wondered how you can still feel so tired even after sleeping for seven to nine hours?  This is because when it comes to sleep, quality is just as important as quantity.  When you get enough high-quality sleep, your body is able to fully rest and repair itself, preparing for a new day.  Improving your sleeping habits can therefore allow you to wake each day feeling fully refreshed, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced and full of energy.

How to Improve Your Sleeping Habits

Improving the quality of your sleep has a lot to do with regulating your habits while you are awake.  In order to improve your sleeping habits, you should try the following:

● Lie down and get up at the same time each day.  Your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, can be greatly influenced by schedule.  This means you shouldn’t sleep in on the weekend either.

● As soon as you get up, expose yourself to bright sunlight.  Take your breakfast outside, or by a sunny window.  The light will help your body reduce melatonin production and help you wake up.

● Avoid using electronics with bright screens for two hours before your bedtime.  The blue light that comes out of these electronics can disrupt your body’s melatonin production and make it more difficult to fall asleep.

● Keep the bedroom dark throughout the night.  This means using shades over the windows or a sleep mask in order to ensure perfect darkness.

● Exercise for at least ten minutes every day.  Even a short, brisk walk can help to improve your sleep quantity and quality.  But make sure that moderate to vigorous workouts are completed at least three hours before bedtime.

● Limit your caffeine and nicotine intake.  “Everyone” may know that drinking caffeine right before bed won’t be good, but few know that caffeine can cause sleep problems for up to twelve hours later.  Nicotine is another stimulant that can also affect sleep patterns.

● Avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bedtime.  Eating dinner earlier in the evening can help to avoid stomach trouble and heartburn that can keep you up.

Perhaps most importantly: when you find a bedtime routine that works well to bring about high quality, sufficient quantity sleep, stick to it!

Erica D'Arcangelo is an Internet Marketing Expert and co-owner of Fresh, Healthy & Fit where she is a regular contributor. Erica has been active in the health and fitness industry through spinning, yoga, HITT training and much more over the last decade. She's a fitness enthusiast and has also helped others with healthy living through her own blog.