By Lily Dulberg, Contributing blogger
Let’s talk about the most important part of your wellness routine: sleep! Yep, that’s right. Without sufficient rest it’s nearly impossible to adapt healthy lifestyle habits. With Daylight Savings having hit recently, it’s the perfect time to take inventory of your sleep routine and adjust so that you’re adjusted to the setback. We’ve put together five essential tips for getting a stellar night’s sleep all year round.
Stop hitting snooze on good sleep habits.
Can you relate to the feeling of stepping out of the office after a long day’s work only to find that it’s dark out? What a bummer! It might seem trivial, but shifting back an entire hour can really mess with your sleep cycle. Since research shows that we in fact can’t make up for missed sleep by hitting snooze on the the weekend, it’s important to catch your zzz’s throughout the week. Don’t wait to adjust your sleep schedule- do it now! Start by hitting the hay at a decent time each day in order to gradually adjust; since the clock's have been set back, you should feel ready to roll into bed!
Do you wind down at the end of the evening? If not, try to rework your routine so that it’s relaxing and optimal for rest. This might include a gratitude journaling practice or a guided meditation. Research from the University of Manchester shows that people who think thankful and positive thoughts before bed exhibit higher quality of sleep. If you have trouble drifting off, incorporating this small change into your life as you turn the clocks back can serve as a centering practice.
Embrace natural light.
Do you get direct sunlight first thing in the morning? If not, you might be missing out on a heightened mood and improved sleep cycle. One of the benefits of setting the clock back is that you technically benefit from an extra hour of morning light! Embrace it by waking up and indulging in the sunlight. Research shows that in order to kickstart our circadian rhythm, we need to see the light first thing in the morning. Stepping outside reduces production of melatonin to keep you wide awake and ready for the day. This might look like gazing out the window, walking the dog, or jogging over to your morning yoga class. Try it out for a week and see how you feel! We promise you’ll love it.
Optimize your environment.
Do you keep books, workout leggings, papers and knick-knacks in your bed? Try keeping your bedroom minimal to promote sound sleep with few distractions. Sleep expert, Ariana Huffington, recommends keeping the bedroom dark, cool and quiet for relaxation and deep sleep. If you live in a small apartment, we know how difficult this can be. Small changes can make a big difference; make your bed and clean your sheets regularly to create a relaxing and comfortable bedtime oasis. Reserving the bed for sleep and intimacy can totally change your mindset!
Ditch your tech.
You’ve heard it before -- light can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. Blue light can suppress melatonin and in turn, disrupt your sleep cycle. Don’t fall victim to scrolling through Instagram before bed. There are so many benefits to placing the phone out of reach before bed. Try leaving your devices charging in another room (and opt for an old-school alarm clock). Shut down your screens about an hour or two before bedtime and opt for a book, or a pen and paper to record your thoughts!
Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time doesn’t have to be a downer. It’s a great time of year to press reset on any sleep habits that aren’t serving you. Work the change into your new schedule right away, and then it’s smooth sailing into the Fall season. A great night’s rest is just around the corner!