Are the bags under your eyes getting so big that you’ve started carrying things around in them? Can you even remember the last time you had an actual dream? Maintaining proper sleep schedules has never been more difficult and as we ease back into our routines this Fall, it's a good time to assess and improve your sleep habits.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night. But less than 65% of us are actually hitting that goal; in fact between 10-30% of Americans battle chronic insomnia or other sleep issues.
That’s just not going to cut it. Sleep is essential for productivity, sanity, and maintaining your devilishly good looks (quality rest is critical for a balanced complexion). Juggling kids and work shouldn’t stop you from catching enough zzz’s. Read on as we lay out tips to get your butt in bed on time every night.
1. Break Up With Your Electronics
Damn girl, we see you having those searing hot threesomes every night. Get your mind out of the gutter- we mean with your electronics! If you find yourself waking up with your laptop strewn out on one side and an iPhone imprint on your chest you need to look at your life and your choices. Staring at a screen right until the moment you pass out is destroying your REM sleep. The brightness sends the message to your brain that it’s still daytime and that it should just! Keep! Working! Studies show you should have at least three thoughts a day that aren’t prompted by Facebook notifications. Silence your phone and put away your laptop half an hour before bed. This gives ample time for both your brain and devices to recharge overnight.
2. Move It Or Lose It
If you’re like most 9-5ers, you spend eight hours a day hunched like Quasimodo over a computer screen. With all of that physical stillness, it’s no wonder your body has trouble shutting off at night. You don’t have to suddenly become a triathlete to get better sleep, but adding in small bursts of exercise when you can is key. This could be as simple as doing 20 jumping jacks every hour at work (yes, be that girl). Or start taking a half-hour walk at five p.m. before you settle into your extreme Netflix binge. Your hamstrings are probably tighter than your high school skinny jeans, so be sure to do some stretches before bed. It can improve blood flow and relieve muscle tension — both of which aid in muscle recovery and sleep quality. The more you can get your body to relax before sleep, the more effective your sleep will be.
3. Plan For The Day Ahead
Your to-do list and your sleep schedule are constantly fighting an epic battle against each other. You may feel like only one can win, but that’s not the case. Chip away at what you can before bed and whatever's left: write it down. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, participants who took 5 minutes to write out a to-do list before bed fell asleep more quickly. According to researchers, the key is in mentally "offloading" responsibilities before bedtime, freeing the mind for sound sleeping.
4. Eat the Right Foods And Try Teas That Help You Sleep
If you want better sleep, choose your nighttime menu carefully. Almonds are a good late-night snack because they’re high in magnesium, which can reduce cortisol levels making you feel less stressed. Turkey is high in tryptophan which can increase melatonin levels and make you sleepy. Finally, you could try sipping on a glass of caffeine-free tea with sleep-boosting ingredients like valerian root or chamomile; both of which contain compounds beneficial for stress reduction and sleep promotion.