What if I told you your sleep cycle begins the moment you are jolted awake by your alarm? It’s still dark out, you hit snooze, and then it’s not long before you are racing the clock to get out on time. This continuous cycle causes our stress hormones to surge, making us crave the sugary breakfast and large coffee that we can’t seem to get moving without. This routine can negatively affect the quality of our sleep, and ultimately, our health.

When it comes to prioritizing sleep, how many of you say things like, “I just don’t have time”? Many of us are not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night and waiting for Saturday to recoup the lost hours may not be so good either. A recent study indicated that playing catch up with your sleep on the weekends has no added benefits and can even be harmful to your health. All the more reason to start developing better habits. Having a positive sleep routine can be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable times of the day; one that keeps us healthy all year long.

Here are some tips that can help set you up for optimal sleep:

  1. Be mindful of what you are putting in your body

  • Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages prior to 2 pm or 12 pm if you are caffeine sensitive.
  • Don’t eat within 2-3 hours before bed.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption because it is disruptive to the sleep cycle.
  • Instead, try sipping a cup of relaxing herbal tea in the evening such as lemon balm or chamomile.
  1. Scan your environment

  • Keep it cool. Our bodies cool down naturally at night helping us to fall and then stay asleep.
  • Keep it comfortable. Is your space a place you enjoy being? Keeping your room neat, cozy, and quiet will set you up for better sleep.
  • Keep it dark. We are programmed to sleep when it is dark; using room darkening shades or wearing an eye mask can help jump-start this process.
  • Keep it device free. Reduce your exposure to stimulating bright lights such as the TV, computer, cellular phones, and video games. These electronics give off EMFs (electromagnetic field) that are known to disrupt sleep.
  1. Develop a routine. Having a peaceful routine can send signals to the body that it is time for sleep

  • Engage in stress-free activities that bring you joy
  • Daily exercise promotes a more restful sleep
  • Diffuse calming essential oils like lavender or cedarwood
  • Spend quality time with loved ones
  • If you experience difficulty falling asleep, try this relaxation breathing technique while lying in bed:
    • Inhale through your nose for a count of four
    • Exhale through your mouth for a count of six
    • Complete this cycle a handful of times to experience its calming benefits

If you believe you are struggling with a sleep disorder, contact us to learn more about our at-home sleep studies. If you would like additional help managing your sleep or other aspects of your mind-body health contact us to schedule an appointment at 201-488-6678, or visit specializedtherapy.com