By: Kristin Knight
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself stay healthy. Even Tom Brady thinks so! In fact, being awake for just 17 consecutive hours can cause sleep deprivation.
While juggling academics, extra curriculars, and a social life, it can be hard to make sure we’re getting enough sleep. These five tips can help you unwind before bed, and will ensure that the sleep you do get is as restful as possible.
1. Cut the Caffeine
Studies show that it’s best not to drink caffeine after 2:00 PM. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your afternoon pick-me-up might be hindering your sleep. If you can’t part with caffeine completely, try switching from coffee to a tea with less caffeine. A cup of caffeine-free, herbal tea is also a delicious and calming option to enjoy right before bed.
2. Lock in a Routine
Whether it’s taking a hot shower or putting on a face mask, make sure your night time routine is relaxing. Furthermore, it will be easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if you go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every night — even on the weekends. Keeping your routine the same each night can also help you signal to your body that it’s time for bed.
3. Lower the Lights
The rising and setting of the sun plays a big role in our natural sleep patterns. Although we aren’t all keen on getting up and going to bed that early, we can simulate the setting sun by lowering the lights at night. Similarly, opening the blinds as soon as you get up might help you wake up faster. If possible, it’s a good idea to stay off electronics for an hour before bed, or at least turn your night shift on!
4. Turn Down the Temp
Your body temperature naturally lowers when you sleep, so setting your thermostat between 60° and 67° can help you get your most restful sleep. Furthermore, make sure that your bedding is comfortable and cozy, but pick covers that don’t make you too hot!
Try doing something relaxing for an hour before going to sleep. Reading or doing yoga are two great options to help your mind and body relax. Once you get in bed, try squeezing and releasing all of your body parts starting by curling your toes for a few seconds and then releasing completely. Next, move up to your calves and through your entire body until you reach your shoulders.
For more tips on how to get a restful night’s sleep, check out the Office of Wellbeing website.