According to some sleep experts, you may be doing everything wrong. If you don’t have a regular bedtime and often stay up too late, you’re not doing yourself any favors!.
There’s always one more TV show to watch, one more email to send.
By the time you finally crawl under the covers, it’s way past your bedtime, and even then sleep sometimes eludes you. All too soon the alarm clock jolts you out of a pleasant dream.
In a fog of fatigue, you hit the snooze button, desperate to catch a few more zzz’s. Well, that’s usually your version of your exhaustion epidemic.
Sleep-deprived individuals are likelier to be stressed out, late for work, and too tired to socialize. They fight daytime drowsiness with caffeine and do nothing special to wind down at night.
In fact, frazzled moms typically spend the last hour of the evening multitasking, finishing chores, squeezing in some time for the family, catching up on work, and watching TV in between.
A hectic lifestyle can sabotage sleep, but this isn’t the sole reason for restless nights. What helps or hinders slumber plays a key role.
First of all, you need to soak up morning sunshine. Light has such a potent effect on your body’s internal clock. You can use this to reset your sleep cycle. If you tend to be a night owl who can’t sleep until past midnight, you may have delayed circadian rhythms.
This is the said internal clock that dictates when you sleep or wake up.
To shift to an earlier schedule and make it easier to get to bed and wake up on time, soak up as much sunlight as possible. This is between six to eight in the morning. Force yourself to wake up early and sit in a sunny room or take post-sunrise walk.
When it’s warm, try eating breakfast outdoors. Basking in the early-morning rays prompts your body to suppress production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, during the day and release it earlier in the evening, so falling asleep isn’t such a struggle.
It also helps if you exercise early in the evening. Though doing this three hours before bedtime can leave you too wired to slumber soundly, you simply have to do it before that.
Exercising three times a week after work helps you improve sleep. It may be that working out then creates a pleasant tiredness or helps you feel less stressed when you curl up under the covers.
Your body is naturally primed to sleep when it’s dark. Dine by candlelight and turn down the lights early on.
Avoid surfing the web or checking email close to bedtime, because the glare of the computer screen can stimulate your brain instead of letting it slow down for slumber. And turn of the tube because many people actually doze off when the TV is on, only to find themselves wide awake later in the night.
That’s because the bright, flashing images and noises are mentally stimulating on a subconscious level. Read a book instead.
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