Daylight saving time ends this Sunday! Did you know that extra hour of sleep may decrease your chance of heart disease by 10%? It also makes streets about 8% safer.
It is important to get into a good routine to develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Here are five tips for forming good sleep habits:
- Follow your body clock
More times than not our body knows when it is time to go to bed. Listen to your body and try to go to sleep around the same time every night. Make sure your room is dark, cool and comfortable. Even if you experience restless nights, try and stay in bed until it’s your regular time to wake up, then maintain that same rise time throughout the rest of your week.
- Sleep smart
There are plenty of things we can do in order to make sure our night of sleep is worthwhile. Distancing yourself from daily distractions at bedtime will have a direct affect on your sleep cycle. Cell phones, electronics and emails tend to consume our daily life, however when it’s time for bed, it is important to put the phone down. Turn your cell phone over and silence the volume when you go to sleep. Do not have a computer or TV in your bedroom as the light exposure from electronic equipment keeps you awake. Once you’re ready to start your day, make it a point to get out into the sunlight, this small habit will help reset your internal clock giving you the energy you need to start the day. Exercise in the morning or 4 hours before you go to bed, as exercise jump-starts your metabolism.
- Eat well
What you eat affects all aspects of your body. Modifying your eating habits to include more whole fruits and vegetables will have a significant impact on your daily life. Sugars and junk food spike blood sugar and give us a false high, causing feelings of fatigue shortly after. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning, as this supplies the fuel for the beginning of your day. As the day progresses, you may want to consider decreasing your food intake with each meal. Therefore, breakfast should be the largest meal eaten each day. Snacking is a healthy alternative to eating three large meals. Choose protein filled snacks like nuts or yogurt during breaks to help control hunger.
- Relieve stress
If work is a major contributor to your personal stress levels, try to take some personal time at night to simply relax. Starting a new hobby, reading a book, spending time with family or taking a relaxing bath could be one of many ways to enjoy yourself and relieve stress.
- Don’t over commit
Be realistic and map out your time in order to make sure you have time for yourself before it is time to go to sleep. Set aside a period of time each day to take a moment for yourself and unwind. Remember to only commit to what you think is feasible for your calendar, your loved ones will always understand and be more than willing to reschedule.
If none of these factors seem to benefit your sleeping pattern, then you may want to consider contacting your primary care physician. Discussing sleeping patterns with your doctor will help identify the source of your sleepless nights.
To learn more about the Tallahassee Memorial Sleep Center, visit TMH.ORG/Sleep.