As we move into spring it’s the perfect time to become more mindful of our sleep patterns. Adequate rest is important for so many reasons. Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour of Step it Up with Steph points out that adequate rest can help reset and cleanse our bodies to get back on track. “Some people even look at spring as a rebirth or revival and a chance to start over,” she said, suggesting more rest can be a “spring resolution” of sorts.
Mary Hartley, RD, agrees, noting good rest is necessary all year long. “Health wise, sleep is just as important as diet and exercise,” she said. “Getting enough sleep may also be a critical factor in a person’s weight.”
While 7-8 hours is recommended and a new study even suggests Americans are getting more shut eye than usual, it’s also important to ensure it’s quality rest. Otherwise, the benefits of those precious ZZZs can slip right through our fingers.
To help, we’ve gathered eight simple tips to help you start sleeping better and longer, tonight.
1. Avoid caffeine after noon and go light on alcohol, as both can inhibit a good night’s rest. As well, Stephanie recommends drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. “If you wait until the nighttime to drink five glasses of water because you’re thirsty and dehydrated, chances are you’ll have to wake up to use the restroom more frequently,” she said.
2. Lie down at the same time every night to get your body on a regular sleep schedule.
3. Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime, as it may inhibit your body from winding down.
4. Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime.
5. Keep the bedroom dark and cool. In addition, make sure your bed itself is comfortable and conducive to a deep sleep. Stephanie recommends sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs to support your lower back. Alternatively, sleep on your back with a pillow underneath your knees.
6. Keep electronics out of the bedroom, suggests Mary. She says things like the TV, computer, smart phone are stimulating for the brain and not conducive to slowing down your thoughts.
7. Relax before bedtime, be it with a hot bath, soothing music or relaxing book, Mary suggests. Stephanie adds that taking a few deep breaths or practicing gentle yoga poses can also be helpful.
8. Be sure that a medical symptom is not interfering with sleep. Mary notes such symptoms could be sleep apnea or anxiety.