How To Get Better Quality Sleep - Let’s get real, how to get better quality sleep might not be the first item on your holiday wishlist -- here’s the thing: it should be. Why? Getting a good night’s sleep can help you fully enjoy your family and the holiday. It’s not just about the number of hours you put in on your mattress, a good sleep is so much more than hours asleep -- it’s about time and quality. Your mind needs time to get into REM sleep and the deeper non-REM sleep, but your body also needs to know that it has the physical ability get into these restful states as well. Trouble falling asleep (insomnia) can come from tons of different places: too much caffeine late at night, sleep apnea, a poor sleep schedule...heck, even your sleep environment plays a part. We’re here with a list of tips to help you get better quality sleep so you can put the hours in at night and still be good to go in the morning without hitting the snooze button. That means being present and aware during the most wonderful time of the year. Not only that, you’ll also contribute to your overall health and wellness, as prolonged insomnia and trouble falling asleep can lead to heart disease and other problems. So don’t toss and turn this Christmas, give it a rest. Here’s a list on how to help you get the best quality sleep that’s sure to be the best present you receive this year.
How to get better quality sleep tip #7 - Limit Caffeine, Chocolate, and other Sugary Treats Before Sleep
While the holidays are definitely the time to enjoy some good treats, limiting those treats can go a long way in calming your brain and helping to improve your sleep -- and even further, help you stay asleep. Caffeine has an incredibly strong half-life, with effects being felt even up to twelve hours after you have coffee. So while it might be nice to have a cup of coffee with some Christmas cookies in the evening, you risk time spent in bed that night, full of stress and unable to fall asleep. Similarly, sugar can lead to sleepless nights too. Eating a lot of sugar can trigger some very basic body responses and mess with your internal clock. If you’re looking for a way to help improve sleep quality, it might be as simple as limiting sugar and caffeine to at least five hours before bed. Maybe skip that last cookie too, it’ll be better for your body and your brain -- especially during sleeping hours.
How to get better quality sleep tip #6 - Meditate and Relax Before Bedtime for More Hours of Sleep
If you feel unable to get the hours of sleep you need because of stress, then perhaps you need to calm the mind. It makes sense, the holidays are fun, but they’re totally stressful too. That’s more unwanted stress on your mind than during the rest of the year, and that fact can make restful sleep hard to come by. When you feel frazzled and like your sleep habits have gone out the window, try taking a quick 10-15 minute break and meditate. Concentrate on your breathing and heart rate, get into a pleasant space conducive to rest. Making still the brain and body is a great use of time, and something that can make the subsequent hours in bed even more useful. Sleeping starts in the body and mind, so building some meditation into your sleeping routine can help get you into a peaceful rhythm every night before bed. Plus, it’s always nice to have some me time around the holidays.
How to get better quality sleep tip #5 - Don’t Forget to Exercise
Exercise is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies, and not just because it makes the time spent sleeping better. Exercise can help with the production of melatonin, a crucial chemical that works with our circadian rhythm to create a natural routine for our body to fall asleep. When we are sleep deprived or stressed (like around the holidays) it can be harder to find the motivation to exercise. Here’s the thing: this is when exercise can be most important. There’s tons of research and evidence, which can be found on the website of the National Sleep Foundation, to say that exercise not only helps you fall asleep easier but can also help with melatonin production to give your sleep hours better quality-- even when you’re stressing around the holidays. While it can be hard to find time to exercise during this time of year, look at it as an investment in your body and in getting better quality rest. Exercise is the gift that keeps on giving.
How to get better quality sleep tip #4 - Try Talking to Your Physician to See if Taking Melatonin is Right For You to Get More Quality Sleep Time
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps your body fall asleep. If you feel out of rhythm, your circadian rhythm more specifically, then taking a melatonin can be a simple way to help you get back in the swing of things. It can be found in most grocery stores in the vitamins and supplements aisle, and could really help you experience the benefits. Think of it as an opposite alarm clock. You can usually feel the effects about a half hour after taking some melatonin, so plan your evening accordingly. As always, there can be some side effects and risks associated with taking any new supplements, so we suggest talking to your physician or preferred medical professional before jumping right in with this tip. Note - Always consult your physician before taking any supplements.
How to get better quality sleep tip #3 - Limit Your Light Exposure and Screen Time
There’s almost nothing worse for your circadian rhythm than blue light, which is emitted from the screens of electronics. While you might have gotten a lot of cool new gadgets and tech toys for Christmas, limiting your screen time with them is imperative if you want to have good quality sleep. Blue light is received by the part of your brain that controls your perception of night and day. This part also controls things like your internal body temperature--which should naturally decrease when you’re getting ready for bed; exposure to blue light before sleep can extend the time that you’ll be awake and disrupt these natural processes that your body experiences when it’s time to sleep. Try limiting that screen time to about an hour and a half before bed. After that, if you’re still feeling awake and energized, read a book. By doing so, you’ll eliminate the backlit pages of a Kindle or smartphone--which helps you cut down exposure to blue light--engage your brain while still allowing it to get ready for sleep. Plus, there’s nothing better around the holidays than to read a book in front of a crackling fire. That’s a holly, jolly time, for sure.
How to get better quality sleep tip #2 - Take the Time to Sleep
While there’s a ton of stuff going on--family, friends, and parties--it’s important to take time for yourself. Always plan on getting eight hours of sleep, not just eight hours in bed. Eliminate needless activities like watching an extra show or being on your phone before bed. You’ll be amazed at how good it actually feels when you lie down. That, plus you’ll be more present for your family and friends -- mindfulness is always a good thing and definitely within the spirit of the season. Getting rid of those needless tasks and finding the time to build sleep into your routine is something healthy you can do during the holidays that will carry through year round. Give it a shot!
How to get better quality sleep tip #1 - Try Not to Worry if You’re Not Sleeping -- Get up and Try Again
If you’re feeling restless and have problems sleeping, then maybe it’s not quite the right time for you to fall asleep. Instead of lying in bed awake and without hope of sleeping, get up and read a book, do a light exercise routine, or otherwise engage your brain so that you aren’t thinking about sleep. After you’re through this activity, try to re-engage with sleep as it can be so much easier after you’ve expended some of that mental energy. You can never force sleep, so it’s better to just say, “I’ll try in a little bit” and not stress. Plus, there’s just something magical about being up in the wee hours, and sipping on some tea while the Christmas lights twinkle on the tree in front of you. That’s the kind of holiday spirit that’s sure to bring you sleep -- just the present you always wanted.
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