10 Simple Habits to Improve Sleep You Can Start Today

habits to improve sleep

These days does it seem as if it is harder and harder to get quality sleep? Sleep is one of the most important cornerstones of our health, yet it is so often overlooked. When thinking about what keeps us healthy, we tend to place a large focus on food and exercise and forget just how important sleep is. It is no wonder we are always tired and cranky, or drawn to sugary snacks, junk food, and stimulants like caffeine, to get us through the day. In this article you will learn about the 10 simplest habits to improving your sleep habits.                        

Time to get more sleep! 

Did you know that skipping out on sleep regularly can increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke?1 

It may be time to place limits on the things that we take on and take in, and begin to place more of a priority on guarding the sleep that we all so desperately need.

The National Institutes of Health recommends adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.1

10 Simple Habits to Improve Sleep You Can Start Today

  • Daily exerciseIncluding exercise in your daily health habits has been shown to be helpful for better sleep, however exercising late at night will not. According to the sleep foundation …  “for most people, moderate-intensity exercise does not have a detrimental effect on sleep as long as it stops at least 90 minutes before bedtime.This allows time for endorphin levels and core body temperature to return to levels that are favorable to sleep.”3 So, if you are planning on exercising, (and you should) aim to include exercise at least 90 minutes before bedtime.  - (Evening walks are still recommended, when done at a relaxed pace for shorter distances.)
  • Stick to a consistent bedtime: Choosing a set bedtime and sticking to it as closely as possible can help your body find it’s natural sleep rhythm. Pick a time for bed that allows for seven to eight hours of sleep, then to stick to the plan, try setting an alarm to alert you that it is close to bedtime so that you can begin to get ready for bed. 
  • Avoid technology 1hr before bedtime (or use blue light blocking glasses): Avoiding technology or using blue light blocking glasses at least an hour before bed is a no-brainer, but it is one of the easiest mistakes to make. Often we turn to technology to help us “unwind” before bed, only to find ourselves staying up later than planned. Did you know that your phone, computer screen, television and even fluorescent and LED bulbs emit a light called blue light that is bright but outside our spectrum of sight? Blue light can negatively affect our circadian rhythm and production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for helping us fall asleep.2 
  • Dim the lights 15 minutes before lights out : It can be helpful to dim the lights before bed to help you fall asleep even faster.
  • Journal to calm the mind: Are racing thoughts keeping you up at night? Try keeping a journal bedside to write down any pressing issues that are on your mind and keeping you from crucial sleep at night. Writing it down allows your mind to let it go.
  • Avoid caffeine 8 - 10 hours before bedtimeWhen you are first starting to apply good sleep habits in your routine, be sure to plan ahead and avoid caffeine at least 8-10 hours before bedtime. We want to support that bedtime routine from the first part of the day's choices to the last. 
  • Drink a caffeine free herbal tea to start relaxing into bedtimeAdditional habits of a bedtime routine that signal to your body that it is time for bed include having a  cup of soothing herbal tea like Chamomile, Passion Flower, or Valerian root. 
  • Unwind with deep breathing and gentle relaxation stretching: Practicing deep breathing exercises can be part of the healthy sleeping habits that add up to you looking forward to the end of the day. 
  • Keep your circadian rhythm in sync with unfiltered sunshine during the day and consider melatonin or a sleep supporting supplement at bedtime.
  • Black out the bedroom - Light is the enemy of deep sleep: Invest in Blackout Curtains, and keep phones out of the bedroom. Enough said.

Still can’t sleep?! Get up for 15 to 20 minutes to read a trade journal, the Bible, or other non-stimulating text, until you feel the next wave of sleep coming. Then head to bed and catch that wave. Surfs up!





If you liked this article you may also like these:

How to Reduce Stress In Your Life

How to Eat a More Plant Based Diet

1 Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency | NHLBI, NIH

2 The Effect of Technology on Sleep | Sleep.org

3 The Best Time of Day to Exercise for Sleep | Sleep Foundation