Sleep is elusive, isn’t it? If you’re like most, you struggle to either fall asleep, wake up, or both.
And it’s not your fault — turns out, a lot affects your sleep quality. Everything from dehydration to stress, your diet, exercise habits, caffeine addiction, life problems, and even sex can drastically impact sleep in one way or another.
Lucky for you, we’ve lined up three ways to improve your sleep. No, we’re not going to tell you to invest in blackout curtains or cut back on coffee, although those tips would also help.
Increase Sun Exposure
The circadian rhythm, your body’s natural time-keeping clock, tells your body when to sleep or stay awake. More daylight during the day energizes you, kind of like a plant. It encourages you to be more active too, which in turn mellows you out in time for bed.
So, try some SAD light bulbs if you can. They’re available in most stores, and also via Amazon. Sitting by the light while you work, cook, read, or even watch TV is a great way to passively increase your exposure to light.
Another way to get more light is to simply step outside. Even 60 extra minutes on your balcony or patio is enough to improve your sleep. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.
Set and Stick to a Routine
Humans are creatures of habit — yes, even the nomadic types who are always looking for new adventures. Everyone, across the board, has certain things they do at specific times. For instance, if you have coffee every morning, you have a ritual or habit you enjoy.
So, why not use that to your advantage? Set a time for bed, and a time to wake up. Smartphones make it easy these days, with sleep time settings, but there are also sleep-wake lamps that gradually wake you up by mimicking the sun.
Sure, it’s not an easy tip, but once you get over the initial hurdle of wanting to stay up later than you should, it becomes easier. Soon, you’ll find yourself naturally going to sleep and waking up at specific times.
Handle Problems During the Day
This might sound counter-intuitive, but if you can resolve problems during the day, you’re already a step ahead of most insomniacs. That’s because a major reason for troubled sleep is a restless mind.
And what exactly does the mind fixate on after hours? Problems. Any issues left unresolved come back to haunt us twofold.
So the best thing to do is to handle those issues earlier in the day. Talk to the people you need to talk to, take the necessary steps, make the plans. It might seem like a hassle, but you’ll sleep soundly knowing you’ve taken steps toward resolutions.
— By Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a content creator and Lynnwood resident who specializes in copy, graphic design and photography for her clients. Whenever she’s not creating something, she’s exploring new places to eat in the area.