March is the month of National Sleep Awareness! Sleep science has developed significantly in the past 20 years, providing growing insight about how sleep works, why it’s important, and the ways that it can be disrupted. Sleep affects our mental health, cardiovascular function, metabolism, and other key elements of overall health. With all this research proving how essential adequate our zzz’s really can be – it’d make sense if people were more motivated than ever before about getting some shut-eye.
Here are a few of my favorite tips and for those nights you find yourself having difficulty getting some good zzz’s:
- Stick to a routine. We are habitual creatures and creating a systematic routine will improve sleep. Keep as close as possible to the same bedtime seven days a week.
- Turn off the lights. Use night shift mode to be kinder on your eyes, and resist the urge to look at your screens. Wear an eye mask if you need.
- Set a bedtime reminder. We use an alarm to wake up, so why not use an alarm for when it’s time to go to bed? There are now settings in smartphones that do this, and even help silence your phone from notifications which can distract you from going to bed.
- Keep it cool: Lower the room temperature to 3 degrees lower if needed. 65 degrees is the recommended temperature for optimal sleep. However, anywhere between 60-75 degrees is recommended.
- Don’t toss and turn. If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing in low light. Try to get your mind off of sleep for a few minutes before returning to bed. This brain trick is proven to work.
There are plenty of other ways that promote good sleep, like drinking warm milk or sleep-inducing teas, taking a relaxing bath, using essential oils, or a humidifier, which all are great pointers in the right direction to getting a good night’s rest. I hope these strategies help you find your best route to the road of zzz’s.