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Sleep Tips: 8 Steps to Better Sleep

Sleep Tips: 8 Steps to Better Sleep

If you have been feeling irritable or exhausted lately, maybe you should consider improving your sleep quality.

Consider all the things that can mess up your precious night’s sleep – from work stress and family obligations to sudden obstacles such as relationship problems, lost jobs, or health issues. It figures why sometimes it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep.

Often, it is impossible to take control of all the factors that mess up your sleep, but you can adopt good sleep-promoting habits. You can begin with these simple steps.

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1. Plan your sleep and stick with it

Go to sleep and wake up at regular times every day, including on weekends, days off, and holidays. Consistency strengthens your natural sleep-wake cycle and helps improve sleep quality. But be warned: if it takes you more than 15 minutes to fall asleep, give it up and try to relax with something else. Return to bed when you feel tired. If you get too anxious to fall asleep, then it is likely to get even harder.

2. Watch your food and beverages

Avoid going to bed either stuffed or hungry. It is possible that your discomfort will prevent you from falling asleep. You might also want to avoid excessive drinking late at night, or you might be forced to get up from sleep to go to the toilet. Here are some foods you can eat if you’re really craving something before bed.

Be wary of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants with prolonged action and can destroy the quality of your sleep. Moreover, although alcohol may seem to bring you closer to sleep at first, it has the potential to ruin it for you later in the night.

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3. Create a bedtime act

Adopt a standard behavioral pattern every night to let your body know it’s time to slow down. Examples include reading a book, taking a shower or a warm bath, or listening to relaxing musing – dimming the lights as well also helps. Activities like these may improve sleep quality by making the transition to drowsiness smoother.

Be careful of including television or other electronics in your bedtime act. There is research showing that exposure to screens and other electronics close to bedtime may adversely affect sleep.

4. Get comfortable

Arrange your bedroom in a way that promotes sleep, which often means dark, cool, and quiet. You can use devices such as earplugs, shades, or a fan to tailor the environment accordingly.

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Your sleep will also be affected by your pillow and mattress. There is no one-size-fits-all approach here, so make your choices according to your own comfort level. If you don’t sleep alone, ensure that both of you have ample room. If there are pets or children in the house, try to limit their access to your bed or forbid it completely. It might even be a good idea to go with a non-toxic mattress.

5. Limit daytime naps

If you go overboard with naps during the day, your nighttime sleep will suffer — especially if you have been having trouble sleeping properly. If you do opt for a daytime nap, don’t let it surpass 10 to 30 minutes, and try to schedule it for midafternoon.

If you have to work at night, these rules regarding daytime napping don’t apply to you. If that’s your situation, try to prevent as much sunlight as possible from entering your room. It will disrupt your internal clock and prevent you from sleeping during the day.

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6. Get more physical in your daily life

Adopting a more physically active lifestyle will improve your sleep quality, helping you sleep faster and deeper. But you need to time it properly. If you engage in physical exercise too late in the day, your energy drive will be too high to fall asleep. If you find yourself troubled by this particular problem, move your exercise routine to earlier in the day.

7. Deal with stress

When you are overburdened with duties and responsibilities, your sleep might be adversely affected. To overcome this, try to manage stress in a healthy way. The basics work: organize yourself, prioritize properly, and set tasks and sub-tasks. Don’t be afraid to take a break if you feel like it. Socialize with friends and blow off some steam. Before getting to sleep, make a note of all your loose ends so that you can work on them tomorrow.

8. Don’t be afraid to see a physician if you need to

Sleepless nights are something that we all experience now and then. But if this has become a constant nuisance for you, contact your physician. Finding and treating any hidden causes can help you sleep the way you deserve.

Featured photo credit: Olichel via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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