Sleep better, work better
Dos and don’ts for catching enough Zzzzzs
At a Glance: How well you sleep is likely going to determine how well you function the next day. Healthy daytime habits, such as exercising, are just as important as your bedtime routine.
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Is stress keeping you up at night? Here are six ways to sleep better at bedtime so you function better during the daytime:
Sure, a 15-minute power nap taken roughly eight hours after waking up from a good night sleep may give you the energy you need to make it through the day. However, any more than that could result in stealing sleep you should be getting at night. Try eliminating longer, if not all naps to stay primed for sound sleep come bedtime.
Regular exercise has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety. Plus, it tires you out. Shoot for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, at minimum. Also: The timing of that exercise is entirely up to you. Some people find that exercising before bed revs them up, while others say it knocks ‘em right out. Listen to your body and respond accordingly.
DON’T study in bed
First of all, your bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sex only. Working or studying there may mentally link your bedroom with the very stress that’s keeping you awake. On top of that, basking in the laptop’s blue light blocks melatonin, a sleep-helping hormone, and messes with your internal clock. Keep all screens out of the bedroom to give your body the break it needs to effectively slip into slumber.
DO develop a relaxing bedtime routine
Create a wind-down ritual for the 15 to 60 minutes before bed. Put away work, bill-paying and other stressors and focus on something that relaxes you, such as reading, taking a warm bath or listening to calm music as you make a list of the things you’ll tackle tomorrow. Your body and brain will learn to recognize the signals that you’re transitioning to sleep time.
DON’T dwell on stressful thoughts at bedtime
Staying awake worrying about things doesn’t take care of them. In fact, being tired the next day can ramp up anxiety and make it harder to get things done. Try a relaxation technique to clear your mind, such as focused deep breathing or escaping to a peaceful place in your imagination. If you’re still awake after 20 minutes, get up, do something low-key, then try again.
DO stress-proof your bedroom
Make sure your bedroom pleases all your senses. Keep it uncluttered and at a comfortable temperature. It should be dark and quiet, too. Get earplugs, white noise or blackout shades, if necessary. Make sure your mattress and pillows are extra comfy, and wash your sheets regularly. Try lavender essential oil, either diffused into the air or diluted and spritzed onto your pillow, to help you drift off into dreamland.
Getting good sleep is directly related to your productivity during the day. So make sure you set yourself up for success at night to be your best self by day!