As you know, sleep is imperative to health. Sleep aids in overall recovery (from reducing inflammation and rebuilding muscles to repairing heart cells and blood vessels), lowers stress, improves attentiveness, promotes mental health, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure--- the list goes on and on. Evidently, sleep is absolutely critical to mental and physical well-being.
Unfortunately, various factors can affect sleep, such as: stress, lights, electronic stimulation, shift work, pain/ illness, medications, sounds, social events, etc. Moreover, seasonal change- especially those as drastic as in Canada- can also interrupt sleep. Shorter days and dark mornings can zap energy and make it tough to get out of bed in the morning.
If you’re having energy or sleep troubles, check out some of these tips for a better night’s sleep:
Try these activities
Exercise regularly. Exercise has a slew of physical and mental benefits, many of which also improve the quality of sleep.
Get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Sunlight is THE best medicine for this, though it can be tougher in the colder months. If possible, take mini walks outside during your work breaks to soak in the sunlight, or opt for fatty fish like tuna and salmon or vitamin D fortified food. If needed, seek out vitamin supplements.
Try a meditation or stretch before bed. Even if meditation isn’t for you, laying still or gently stretching while listening to calm music can be just as beneficial to de-cluttering your mind and relaxing you before bed.
Stressed? Keep a bedside journal to jot down all of your thoughts before your head hits the pillow. This will prevent those “must-do and must-remember” thoughts from keeping you up all night!
Try these environmental changes
Keep a cooler bedroom temperature. Though studies have shown that there is a lot of variation for ideal sleep temperatures, some people find that a cooler temperature helps. Mind you, extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold) will disrupt deep sleep, so playing around with your room’s temperature to find what works for YOU is important.
Try a white noise machine or keep a fan on. Your body focuses on the soft, rhythmic sounds instead of other noises or your “noisy” thoughts.
Minimize/ avoid LED and bright lights 30 minutes or so before bedtime.
Try these schedule changes
Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (as much as your schedule allows). Some people stay up later and get up later-- which is fine! Consistency- even on weekends- will help your body optimize its circadian cycle and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed.
Keep those naps as “cat-naps”. Naps longer than 15-20 minutes can leave you feeling more tired than before you napped and prevent you from being able to fall asleep later.
Speaking of naps, keep them in the later morning/ early afternoon, i.e. as far away from your regular schedule as possible. If you’re feeling drowsy after supper, get up and move around. Late night naps may wake you up later on in the night.
We hope some of these tips help you get the sleep you deserve and your body needs!
The TriForce Team