7 steps to getting the best night’s sleep ever
Your calendar is probably booking up faster than you can say, “How am I going to fit it all in?”
You can pass on dinner with your second cousin and maybe your neighbor’s daughter’s holiday dance recital, but there is one thing you shouldn’t skimp on this holiday season: sleep.
Here are a few key tips to getting the most out of your shuteye, whether you can only muster five hours or have the ability to get the optimal eight.
Stick to a schedule. As best as you can, go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on your days off. This will help your body get into a rhythm, help you fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed.
Avoid late-night snacks. We all know that eating right before bed can wreak havoc on your waistline, but it’s also not good for your sleeping patterns. If you’re stuffed, you probably won’t be able to get comfortable and thus will have trouble falling asleep. On the flip side, if your stomach is growling while you lie in bed, go ahead and grab a small snack. You’ll never fall asleep thinking about how hungry you are.
Stop drinking. Don’t drink liquids within two hours of your bedtime to prevent trips to the bathroom throughout the night. Also note that caffeine and alcohol can both negatively impact your sleep cycle, so pass on that afternoon cup of coffee and stick to just one glass of wine with dinner.
Keep your cool. While the temperatures drop outside, the inclination is to crank the heat inside. But, when it’s time for bed, let your heater rest, too. Cooler temps make for a more restful night’s sleep.
Get that workout in. Staying active with regular trips to the gym can help you get better sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and into a deeper state of sleep. One caveat: Don’t exercise too close to your bedtime because you could end up feeling the rush of a good workout and end up too pumped to sleep.
Find an app for that. There are plenty of apps and gadgets that can help you get a better night’s sleep. To get to sleep, install the free Relax Melodies: Sleep & Yoga app. This app, available on both iPhones and Android smartphones, has 50 ambient sounds to soothe you to sleep, plus you can create your own customized mixes to help you fall asleep faster. To get a better read on how you sleep and when you should be ready to rise and shine, check out the Sleep Cycle Alarm clock for $.99 in the iTunes store. It tracks your sleep and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase.
Invest in a new clock. More of a traditionalist and want an actual alarm clock? Check out the Zadro Natural Wake-Up alarm clock, $39.99 at Target. The clock gradually lights up, simulating the rising sun, to wake you up gradually. And finally, if the snooze button is your best friend ( or should that be, worst enemy?), check out the Clocky, $39.99 at newegg.com, an adorable little guy that will literally roll right off your nightstand as it goes off, preventing you from hitting snooze and forcing you to climb out of bed.
And don’t forget, these tips and apps will help you all year long, so make getting a good night’s sleep your goal every night.