maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.
Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, having a healthy relationship with your bed is crucial to looking after yourself.
Sleep, its different for all of us. Some struggle to get to sleep, others struggle to get up at a reasonable time, and some wake up regularly throughout the night. However, it is something that is important for our overall health and well-being, let alone our productivity and mood. No matter your relationship with sleep, there are things that you can do to maintain a healthy sleeping schedule.
what does a healthy sleeping schedule look like?
The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, somebody’s age, lifestyle and diet can affect this. It is recommended that young adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, but this can still vary depending on the individual.
There are some key questions to ask yourself when determining the health of your sleeping schedule:
Is it difficult to get out of bed in the morning?
Do you experience daytime drowsiness?
Do you rely on caffeine to get through the day?
Do you manage to get to sleep quickly and with ease?
If you feel you have an unhealthy relationship with sleeping, then it may be time to readjust your day-to-day habits. Here are a few things to think about when trying to improve your sleeping routine.
Creating consistency in your sleeping schedule is essential for a healthy routine. Getting up at the same time every day, including on weekends, is one way to create consistency. Of course, we all need a lie in every now and then but try to incorporate these into your routine, so they don’t infringe on any consistency. This habit is extremely beneficial for those of us that struggle to get up in the morning. Waking up at the same time every morning will train your body to be awake by this time, making those early mornings much easier, and actually more enjoyable!
Similarly, try and go to bed at the same time each night, especially during the week. Aiming to be consistent at bedtime means that your body will become attuned to when it’s time to turn off and relax, making drifting off to sleep much easier. Set a bedtime in conjunction with what time you would like to wake up in the morning. Remember, aim for seven to nine hours, but listen to your body and work out how long is right for you.
Obviously, as young adults, many of us enjoy going out and having late nights on the weekend. But it is imperative that we do not let these late nights affect our sleeping schedules over the next week. No matter how late the night was over the weekend, do your best to stick to your sleeping schedule, you’ll thank yourself for it in the long run.
daily habits that can be detrimental.
Let’s face it, sometimes there is nothing better than having an afternoon nap. Especially when you wake up feeling refreshed and rested, ready to tackle the rest of the day. Now, I’m not deterring you from having these, but I am saying be smart with it. Try to limit your naps to 30 minutes, I can be the worst for this, I accidently had a four-hour nap once – whoopsie! But keeping the nap short means that it is less likely to affect your sleep, especially if you avoid having it later in the day.
Think about what you are putting in your body during your waking hours. Going to bed not feeling too hungry or full can help you fall asleep easier, as bodily discomfort can often keep us up. If you are struggling to wake up in the mornings, try reducing your carbohydrates intake, as carbs influence our energy levels. Also, (this is an obvious one) be cautious with caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Nicotine and caffeine can take hours to leave our systems, and they can detrimentally affect our sleep. Although alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it causes disruption to the quality of our sleep.
Exercise also impacts how well we sleep at night. Not using enough of your energy can leave you lying in bed at night struggling to get to sleep. Exercising regularly promotes a good night’s sleep and can also aid in developing a good morning routine, as many people enjoy doing exercise in the morning to wake up. Sometimes we just cannot find the time or motivation to regularly exercise, so ensuring that you get an adequate amount of time outside can still be super beneficial.
adapting your bedtime routine.
How we spend our final waking hours can really affect our quality of sleep and how well we drift off. We all have different ways that we enjoy spending our evenings but ensuring that you have 30 minutes of wind down is extremely beneficial. During this time, I would highly recommend avoiding all screens. Going on your phone or watching TV can keep your brain active, making it difficult to wind down. Similarly, the light from screens supresses your natural production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps you sleep.
During this 30-minute wind down, you could read, listen to relaxing music, or even do some stretches. I used to lie awake worrying at night, but I now enjoy reading and praying before bed, as I find this is a good way to reflect on and be thankful for the day that I have had, manage my worries, and prepare for tomorrow. However, many people also do this by journaling, meditating, or listening to sleeping apps, such as Calm and Headspace.
As I said before, sleep is different for all of us. What works for me, may not work for you. But learning to tune in to your body and learn what habits work for you can be key to developing a healthier relationship between you and your bed.