Becoming a better sleeper may seem impossible, but for many people making a few simple changes can bring deeper shut-eye. Try these four easy sleep strategies shared by The Scientific American to change your relationship with sleep tonight:
1. Consider your lighting near bedtime: You may be like millions of people around the world, who make brushing their teeth the last thing they do before heading off to bed. However, this simply seemingly mindless task could push your bedtime back. Blue light has been proven time and time again to hinder the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps send us off to dreamland. Dim and minimize light exposure about 90 minutes before you tuck in, including putting away electronics.
2. Enjoy a morning “photon shower”: Commit to getting more light in the mornings to keep your circadian rhythm on track. “The human body clock is slightly longer than 24 hours, so without this stabilizing effect from morning light, the clock starts to drift,” explained Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist at the University of Oxford. If you have to head out before sunrise, invest in a dawn simulating alarm clock or download at app to measure the lighting around your home, ensuring that the light in your bathroom is between 1,000-2,000 lux for pleasant mornings and easier nights.
3. Get in tune with your dreams: According to a 2011 study, its participants were able to solve a maze much faster after having dreams relating to the task. Lucid dreaming can help reduce anxiety and stress in your daily life as well as your dreams by helping you be more resilient in the face real world events. Taking control of your drams also encourages more creativity and can reduce those sleep disrupting nightmares.
4. Get to sleep: Try heading to bed one hour earlier than you normally would for week to learn more about how much sleep you need. If you can feel positive change in your mornings and work day, stick with the new bedtime or consider going to bed even earlier. Regardless of all the sleep hacks you can find on the internet, such as a “midday caffeine-nap,” the best way to sleep better is to simply do it!
How have you been sleeping lately? Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to be at their best. Tuck in earlier tonight after following a soothing bedtime routine, including taking a warm bath, reading, praying, stretching and/or journaling to get back on track with your snooze!