Did you know that over 50 million Americans struggle with sleep issues each year?
In fact, the CDC has called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic!
We need healthy, consistent sleep to be our best selves. Sleep gives our bodies a chance to repair and replenish energy levels, cells, and proteins.
Quality sleep can also fend off chronic pain, mood disorders, and terminal illness.
What can you do to ensure you are getting the sleep you need? You may be surprised!
Keep reading for tips on how to sleep longer and fuller, every single night.
1. Workout Earlier
Regular exercise can be vital for getting a good night’s sleep. It can reduce insomnia, help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, and enable uninterrupted sleep cycles.
But when are you choosing to exercise during the day? Your answer to this question may be influencing your ability for getting better sleep.
Fitness routines are energizing. They flood our bodies with endorphins, that “feel good” chemical we all crave, and get our hearts pumping.
For this reason, when you work out later in the day, your body may be too wired to fall asleep or remain asleep for long.
To ensure longer, high-quality sleep, workout earlier. You may not be a morning person, but try to hit the gym before work or squeeze in an early afternoon workout.
2. Stay Away from Sleep Aids
You may be tempted to get a prescription to combat sleep issues. However, in some cases, pharmaceutical drugs can actually prevent high-quality sleep.
A lot of these prescriptions can also have negative side effects, including restlessness and insomnia! It’s not uncommon for people to develop a physical dependency on these drugs, either.
If possible, stay away from mainstream sleep aids. If you are currently taking a sleep aid, ask your doctor to help you taper off this safely.
If you do need to supplement your sleep cycles with something, reach for a natural sleep aid.
Natural sleep aids include melatonin supplements, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles and promotes restful sleep. Magnesium supplements can also be helpful for longer sleep cycles and energized mornings.
3. Limit Your Caffeine Consumption
Ah, caffeine, the morning pick-me-up a lot of us crave! Caffeine isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can challenge sleep cycles, especially when consumed in high amounts.
Even for caffeine junkies who are able to fall asleep–and stay asleep–high caffeine consumption during the day can reduce the quality of your sleep.
If you find yourself tossing back four cups of coffee a day, it’s time to scale back. If you can, try to cut that habit in half. A lot of health practitioners recommend consuming only one cup a day.
Pay attention to when you consume caffeine during the day, too. Much like fitness, aim to enjoy coffee or other beverages before 3 p.m., and no later!
4. Balance Your Hormones
The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. If you are struggling to get this amount, your hormones may be out of whack.
The stress hormone cortisol, for example, can linger in the body and cause all kinds of sleep disorders. Check out this company to discover if you have a sleep disorder.
The best way to figure out which hormones are out of alignment is to consult a medical practitioner and get a simple blood test.
However, you can still balance your hormones naturally. Often, this involves techniques for stress reduction such as yoga, exercise, or meditation.
You can also balance your hormones through food. Reducing your consumption of processed, high-sugar ingredients is vital here. Fill your plate with healthy fats and proteins for nourishing, long-lasting energy.
5. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Our bodies need time to wind down from busy days, especially weekdays. A bedtime routine can give you the opportunity to do just this. Plus, it can prime you for high-quality sleep cycles.
Your bedtime routine doesn’t have to be an hour long. For most working adults, spare hours are sparse.
Your routine should, however, prioritize on detaching and decompressing.
Try to avoid looking at any computer or mobile device screen an hour before you go to bed.
This is vital! The blue light from such screens can impact levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Turn all devices off or on airplane mode before your bedtime routine.
Take a long, hot shower or bath with Epsom salts to replenish your magnesium levels. Practice some deep breathing to calm your mind. Rub essential oils on your wrists and feet–lavender is a great choice here.
If you like to read, work through a few pages of your favorite novel before drifting into dreamland. Brew a soothing cup of chamomile tea and sip this while you read.
Set aside five or ten minutes for some of these activities to ensure you slide into sleep at ease.
6. Eat Well
Diet influences our sleep cycles more than most people realize. In fact, a diet high in sugar and saturated fat and low in dietary fiber often results in lighter sleep cycles.
A diet rich in protein and low in processed sugars, on the other hand, can enable you to sleep longer and deeper.
Why is this the case?
Our brain needs nutrients in order to produce certain neurotransmitters that promote healthy sleep. Without these nutrients, or with the wrong nutrients, your brain doesn’t have what it needs to chemically prepare you for sleep.
Processed sugars can also spike blood sugar levels, over-stimulating brain activity. If you can, stay away from that bowl of ice cream before bed.
Visit this article to learn more about the foods that can help you sleep better.
7. Get Some Sun
Studies indicate that regular exposure to sunlight can help regulate circadian rhythms and promote longer sleep cycles. It can even stimulate your body’s production of Vitamin D and melatonin!
This can be hard during the winter months, but do your best to step outside for at least thirty minutes a day. If sun is hard to come by, supplement your diet with Vitamin D.
Final Thoughts: How to Sleep Longer
Don’t miss out on nourishing sleep! Build these habits into your daily routine now to sleep longer and fuller.
Keeping habits can be difficult, especially when it comes to sleep. If you’re struggling to maintain healthy sleep habits, check out this article for some great tips!