Your nightly zzz’s provide the body with its much-needed chance to recuperate and rejuvenate; both internally for mental and physical health, as well as for external benefits like skin repair. Anything less than 6 – 8 hours of sleep per night can have long-term, adverse effects on your health. The mind loses its acuity, and the restless nights begin to show as dark under-eye circles and a haggard complexion.
So what can you do to increase these all-important night-time sleep hours? Improve their quality with these six simple steps for long-term sleep benefits.
Leave Your Worries on the Bedside Table
A racing mind full of tomorrow’s deadlines and today’s regrets is not conducive to getting quality shut-eye; or even falling asleep in the first place. Implementing a stress management plan that starts with the simple first step of staying organized and setting a visible priority list can help you feel more on top of worries with the knowledge that you’ve got them under control, even if it’s just on paper. Jot them down in a notebook beside your bed–and leave them there until morning.
Set Your Body’s Biological Clock
Go to bed as close to the same time every night, and get up around the same time every morning — even on weekends — will help train your internal clock. This sets the stage for a healthy immune system, as well as improved quality and duration of sleep. Increasing your exposure to natural daytime light also helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy.
Exercise does more than strengthen muscles and improve circulation. It improves mental acuity and ensures your body is good and tired when it’s finally time for bed. Try to exercise a minimum of 3 – 4 hours prior to bedtime; early in the day is even better! Post workout alertness, or ‘runner’s high’, is attributed to the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. So while that’s beneficial to a healthy daytime routine, you’ll want to tire out well before bedtime.
Limit Caffeine, Alcohol, and Heavy Meals
Restricting your caffeine and alcohol intake to the first part of the day will help your body’s natural sleep cycle. Because these two substances are also diuretics, consuming them too close to bedtime promotes increased urine production which will disrupt your sleep. Ideally, you should also try to finish dinner 2 – 4 hours before bed, as well. If you’re feeling hungry, light snacks that are high in protein will limit the chances of indigestion and regulate blood sugar levels through the night.
Make Your Bedroom a Place To Sleep
Your bed should be for sleep and sex. Make it comfortable, invest in window coverings to block out light, and inhibit noise where possible. If need be, use a white noise machine or earplugs. Keep the thermostat down, and work in the office. The bedroom should be associated only with relaxation and sleep in your mind.
Set a Good Sleep Routine
Start by making relaxation your goal, not sleep. A warm bath before bed is a good way to calm the senses. Keep activity to a minimum, and non-stimulating. Read a book, journal, or meditate. Get into the habit of deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation starting with your toes, working your way up to the top of your head. Sleep will follow.
Reduce Snoring for Better Sleep
Tried everything and still not sleeping well? It might be an indication that you didn’t get enough oxygen due to sleep apnea, or you didn’t sleep well because your partner was snoring. Book a private consultation with us to discuss our non-invasive NightLase laser treatment. The clinically-proven method decreases snoring and reduces the effects of sleep apnea.
Do’s and Don’ts of Better Sleep
- Avoid the power nap trap! Naps could make it harder for you to fall asleep at your scheduled time.
- Limit screen time: turn all technology off two hours before bedtime whenever possible, to allow your brain the chance to wind down.
- Keep fluids to a minimum to avoid getting many times in a night.
Ensuring a good night’s sleep is good for the mind, body, and complexion. Getting into a good routine will help you achieve the kind of relaxation that will have total body benefits. Sweet dreams!