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10 tips to fix your sleep routine after a major life event

10 tips to fix your sleep routine after a major life event

A major life event can take a toll on almost anything – relationships, diet, daily routine, and definitely sleep. The end of one can be even worse, as you’re stuck with bad habits that have become second nature in your life. After spending my last two years of college sleeping only three to five hours a night, I knew it was a system I wanted and desperately needed to fix.

Sleep plays a vital part in our lives. Lack of sleep can lead to depression, anxiety, unhealthy eating habits, dark circles, and poor health. In extreme cases, sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations and heart disease, according to WebMD. Here are 10 ways to fix your sleep routine and get your life back in control before it’s too late. 

1. Put your devices away

An article from Sleep.org explains how a blue light emitted from laptops, computers, phones, tablets, and even game consoles can reduce your body’s natural melatonin and trick your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. Don’t stare at any digital devices at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

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2. Take melatonin supplements or drink tea

A natural solution to induce sleepiness is melatonin or noncaffeinated tea. Anywhere from 2-12 mg of melatonin can be taken at bedtime, but consult a doctor to be safe. Melatonin is naturally produced in our body as a hormone that controls the sleep cycle. Chamomile tea, often nicknamed the “sleep tea,” is another natural solution to bring about drowsiness. A cup daily before bedtime can relax the mind and body.

3. Have “me-time”

Instead of spending your last 30 minutes before bedtime on a device, take the opportunity to pamper yourself and de-stress. Apply a face or eye mask and lay down with a cup of tea. Avoid strenuous activity or overthinking. No matter how the day went, be thankful and forget your worries to savor this moment. You deserve it! Taking the time to switch from work to relaxation mode can help prepare you for sleep and reduce stress.

4. Tire yourself out

If you have a ton of energy around bedtime, try tiring yourself out during the day. One of the best ways to exhaust excess energy is to perform any form of exercise (my favorite is swimming.) A 2013 poll from the National Sleep Foundation found a positive correlation between exercise and a good night’s sleep. Don’t overdo yourself; if you’re not used to exercising, start with a 10-minute walk and slowly work your way up. A little exercise can make a huge impact on your sleep quality.

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5. Resist the urge to nap

A nap can be extremely tempting during a long day and is probably the cause of most ruined sleep cycles (including mine.) I repeat. Do. Not. Nap. As heartless as it sounds, a nap afternoon can disrupt your sleeping pattern and cause you to go to bed at an unideal time. A 30-minute nap can quickly turn into a three-hour nap. Break the cycle and resist the urge by going outside or planning an event with friends to keep you occupied and your mind off of how tired you are.

6. Track your sleep cycle with an app

Ever sleep for a long time and wake up more tired than before you went to bed? This is the result of waking up without completing a full cycle of sleep. Install a sleeping app to calculate what time you should wake up to ensure you don’t disrupt your sleep cycle. While these apps are not 100 percent accurate, they do a great job of helping you set an alarm depending on what time you go to sleep.

7. Change your room décor

A change in environment can go hand-in-hand with the end of a major life event. Buying a new comforter or rearranging your room can make your bedroom appear new. It’s a representation of your new life in the form of a physical change. This can trick your mind into associating old sleep habits with your past room and make it easier to implement new changes in your routine.

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8. Opt for a white or pink noise machine

Sometimes, a little noise is all you need. A white noise machine, like a fan, can block out any outdoor noise and make it easier to sleep. A pink noise, which is noise similar to a steady heartbeat, however, has been scientifically proven to help participants sleep up to 25 percent better than white noise, according to an article from AlenCorp. In the end, it’s up to personal preference. Regardless, buying a white or pink noise machine can help block out any sounds which can be disrupting your sleep.

9. Fix your diet

Your diet shows in your habits. Life events that cause stress usually create a bad diet, as well. A diet of processed, high-calorie junk food is guaranteed to make you feel lethargic and more prone to naps in the day and irregular sleep patterns. Eating cleaner, healthier options and replacing sodas and juices with water will help guarantee a good rest and will make your more active during the day.

10. Seek medical attention

If all else fails, consult a doctor. Sleep is too important to be ignored. A doctor can diagnose you if you have a medical condition and prescribe better medication or tips suited to your concerns. Don’t wait until your problems escalate. Seek medical attention if your sleepless nights persist for more than 2 weeks.

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Once you’ve regained control over your sleep, try your best not to let it go astray again. Consistency is key in keeping a proper sleep pattern going and guaranteeing a healthier life.

Featured photo credit: Benjamin Combs via hd.unsplash.com

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Fatima Puri

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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