Improving your sleep can seem like a big task, as it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. The good news is that your efforts will be rewarded with better health, more energy and an overall higher quality of life. Here’s what Entrepreneur says you can do to get better shut-eye this year:
1. Set a sleep goal: Defining what your exact sleep needs and goals are helps you to get motivated. Whether the goal is to stop sleeping in on the weekends or move your bedtime up by an hour each night, all goals are important.
2. Motivate yourself: Think about why sleep is important to you, and then list those reasons, such as more energy, better health, and higher productivity, on a whiteboard to encourage yourself to commit to making changes.
3. Plan and START: You can’t have progress without actually starting. Whether you commit to making gradual changes or completely changing multiple habits at once, don’t put it off, start tonight!
4. Sleep-proof your bedroom: Your bedroom has a huge influence on how long you sleep each night, as well your sleep quality. Keep it clutter-free, and in keep mind that light, temperature, sounds, and smells all work together in creating the perfect sleep haven.
5. Get familiar with bedtime strategies: Insomnia every now and then due to stress is quite common as sometimes, you won’t be able to avoid it. However, it’s important to know how to combat stress with relaxation, using strategies such as mindfulness, visualization and other calming tactics.
6. Log off and unplug: Electronics are recognized sleep stealers, including laptops, TVs, smart phones, e-readers, and tablets. All of your favorite devices emit blue light, which slows the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel drowsy and sleep throughout the night. Put those away at least an hour before bed.
7. Nap smarter: There are some cases where sleep experts recommend avoiding nap time all together, but people who naturally enjoy naps should definitely continue. A little midday snooze of no more than 30 minutes has been proven to boost energy, creativity and so much more.
8. No more sleeping in on weekends: Your natural body clock, or circadian rhythm, requires a consistent bedtime to help you make help a success each night. Plus, staying up late on Sunday night ensures a rough Monday mornings. Stick to the same schedule, allowing a 1 hour variation every now and then.
9. Be aware of stimulants: Sugar, caffeine and hot spices can lead to a later bedtime and increase sleep disruptions with indigestion. Increase your intake of sleep-promoting foods and cut off caffeine by 2 pm.
10. Check your progress: Whether you decide to use a sleep diary or sleep app, it’s important to monitor your progress to allow for necessary changes if something isn’t working for you. Plus, it’s great encouragement to see how far you’ve come after sticking to it.
Stacking up on 7-9 hours of sleep every night is also a fantastic way to hit other goals in your life, including losing weight, lowering your blood pressure, quitting bad habits and being more productive at work. Climb into bed early tonight to start getting all the benefits of high-quality shut-eye.