Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

  • In Weight Loss Challenge

We are all aware that eating right and exercising are essential to building your health and losing weight but sometimes we tend to overlook another crucial component that is also important – getting enough sleep.  A lack of sleep creates added stress and fatigue which can lead to poor eating habits and a lack of motivation when it comes to your work out. Getting adequate sleep helps us think clearer, make healthier decisions and restore your energy.  In today’s hectic world, however, sleep is often discounted and forfeited for increased productivity, but the truth is that a good night’s sleep improves our overall well-being allowing us to perform at a higher level throughout the day.

Making sleep a priority is possible with just a few adjustments. Here are some tips to help you get on track:

Limit your exposure to light in the evening hours.  Light impacts our natural circadian rhythm. While light exposure during the day can be beneficial, you will want to reduce such exposure in the evening hours. Turn off the phones, computers and TV at least two hours before you go to bed. This not only helps us avoid the disruptive blue light of our gadgets and appliances, but also allows us to clear our minds in preparation for better sleep.

Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day. Give yourself a cut off time around 3 or 4 pm for that last coffee.  If you find yourself still craving an evening beverage, go for herbal tea or choose a decaffeinated option.

Stick to a schedule. Irregular sleep patterns can negatively impact your circadian rhythms and levels of melatonin. Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning, including weekends, builds a better routine that will leave you well rested and refreshed on a regular basis.

Avoid Alcohol.  Drinking alcohol has been known to increase symptoms of sleep apnea and disrupt your regular sleep pattern.  The best approach to a sounder sleep? Skip the cocktails.

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment.  When it comes to sleep, your surroundings make a difference. Several factors can be controlled to help you better relax and settle in for the night. First, make sure your exposure to light is reduced. Invest in heavy curtains or blinds and pay attention to the placement of your alarm clock and other devices. Also, try to block out as much noise as possible. Take a moment to listen at night and find any sources of disruptive noise that can be moved to another location or silenced.