Sleep is a major part of our lives, and whether we like it or not, we cannot go without it. The difference between getting quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can drastically change how we feel the following days. When we get poor sleep, even our easiest daily tasks can prove difficult, and we have a harder time dealing with stress.
Great sleep, on the other hand, makes us feel ready to take on the day, and be productive. Although many of us understand that getting enough sleep is vital to living our best lives, getting it is another story.
This new year, you may have a New Year’s resolution to sleep better in 2023, as well as other positive new habits. Though this is a great New Year’s resolution to have, it can be difficult getting there, especially if you don’t know where to start. Below, we’ll go over 10 tips to help you prioritize sleep in the year ahead.
One of the best ways to prioritize sleep is to set a consistent bedtime routine. Try going to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time every morning. This will help to solidify your circadian rhythm, and naturally set your sleep-wake cycle. It’s important that you strive to get the same hours in bed at night at the same time, even on the weekends. Doing so will naturally make your body fall asleep, and wake up on your sleep schedule.
One way to set up a consistent bedtime routine is by scheduling time before bed for winding down. This could include reading, stretching, or writing out your thoughts in a journal. The focus should be on relaxing activities that do not involve a screen. Other activities include meditating, yoga, Tai Chi, drinking herbal tea, listening to soft music or a podcast, and taking a bath. Doing so will lull your body and mind into a state of relaxation, making getting to bed early much easier.
Creating a sleep environment that promotes restful sleep is key for prioritizing sleep. Make sure your room is cool, dark, and quiet by investing in blackout curtains, white noise machines, or sound machines. Avoid watching TV, or using your phone in bed.
Another great way to make your room better for sleeping is by adding a humidifier, or essential oil diffuser. If you live in a dry climate, then the harsh, dry air could be disturbing your sleep at night. Moreover, an essential oil diffuser will release relaxing aromatic oils into the air that will help you gear up for sleep.
Lastly, avoid doing activities other than sleeping and having sex in your bedroom. For example, if you work from home, create a space outside of your bedroom where you answer your emails, or make work calls. This will tell your brain that your bedroom is a place to relax, not think about work.
Blue light is a type of light emitted from devices such as phones, tablets, and computers. Screens emit this type of light that stimulates the brain, and suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. When you’re exposed to blue light late at night, it can make it harder to fall asleep, leading to poor sleep quality, and even insomnia.
There are several steps you can take to avoid blue light before bed to prioritize sleep. First, try to limit your use of electronic devices an hour or two before bedtime. Don’t watch TV in your bedroom, if possible. If you must use electronics, reduce the amount of blue light by using apps, like f.lux, or Apple's Night Shift mode that reduces blue-light exposure.
You should also make sure to keep your phone away from your bed when sleeping; this will help prevent any distractions that might disrupt your sleep. Finally, replace any bright lights in your bedroom with softer yellow or orange lights that won't suppress melatonin levels as much as blue light.
Exposure to natural light each day is essential for a healthy lifestyle, and can help promote better quality sleep at night. Natural light helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for controlling our sleep-wake cycles. When the body is exposed to natural light during the day, it sends signals to help regulate these rhythms. This helps our bodies fall asleep more easily, and stay in a deep, restful sleep throughout the night.
The benefits of getting sunlight exposure during the day include improved mood, increased energy levels, enhanced cognitive performance, and better overall health. Sunlight also helps boost Vitamin D production, which plays an important role in bone health. Vitamin D also helps boost your immune system, and protects against cancer.
Getting enough natural light exposure during the day has been linked to sleeping better at night. Exposure to sunlight during the day stimulates melatonin production when it gets dark outside. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle, and tells us when it’s time to go to bed. When we don’t get enough exposure to natural light during the day, our melatonin production is suppressed, which can lead to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
Trying going outside during the day for at least 15 minutes without sunglasses on to get your daily dose of natural light.
Create good habits around sleep by first cutting back on bad habits before bedtime. Some things that can lead to sleep deprivation include late-night snacks, drinking caffeine late in the afternoon or night, drinking alcohol before bed, and watching TV late at night. Instead, replace them with some of the good habits discussed earlier, like drinking relaxing herbal teas before bed, reading books instead of scrolling through social media, and keeping electronics out of the bedroom entirely, if possible.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, or have an extended period of sleep deprivation, talk to your doctor about whether a mild over-the-counter or prescription sleep medicine might be helpful for you to fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. For people with sleep conditions, like insomnia, this may be your best bet for a good night’s sleep every night. Do not take any medication without consulting with your physician first!
If you have kids, get them involved in prioritizing their own sleep by helping them create their own bedtime routines — like brushing their teeth, washing up, and reading stories — that will help them fall asleep more easily at night.
When your young child is up late at night, it can push back your own bedtime, and mess up your sleep schedule; therefore bring your kids into your new sleep habits by encouraging them to go to bed early, so that you can get into bed on time, too.
Also, it may be beneficial to get your partner on the same schedule as well, particularly if one or both of you are sleep deprived. Explain the importance of sleep for both kids and adults, and that this year you want to start prioritizing sleep and health. You may find it easier to stick to your sleep schedule and 8 hours if your partner develops the same schedule. Also, this will prevent your partner from going to bed later, and waking you up.
Exercise and diet are two things that are on many people’s New Year’s resolutions each year. This is because exercising daily and eating healthy are vital to living a long and healthy life. But, did you know that exercise and diet are also closely tied to sleep quality?
Regular exercise can help you feel more alert during the day, thus promoting better sleep at night. On the other hand, poor eating habits (such as consuming too much sugar or caffeine) can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Making changes to your exercise routine and diet is an effective way to promote better sleep. For example, exercising in the late afternoon or evening may be disruptive to your sleep cycle, so it’s best to do so earlier in the day. Additionally, avoiding large meals close to bedtime will help you get a better night’s rest. Instead, try eating lighter snacks that contain complex carbohydrates and protein before bedtime.
Start by making small changes to your lifestyle by exercising for 30 minutes every other day, then as you get used to the routine, increase the frequency and intensity of your workout. With your diet, follow the same process. Trying to make major changes right away may lead to burnout. First, start cutting out late-night snacks, and incorporating healthier foods like vegetables into your meals. Slowly work your way to eating a healthy diet for all three meals.
Your mattress may be another reason why you’re not sleeping well at night. If you’re looking for a big change in making sleep a priority, replacing your old mattress is a great way to start. If you own an old or worn-out mattress, or even if you have a newer, low-quality bed, your mattress could be a major reason that is preventing you from getting enough sleep each night.
You may think that your mattress is fine, and maybe you don’t even find it uncomfortable, but you may also just be used to it. A great mattress is one that is suited to your sleep preferences, allowing you to feel comfortable when you get into bed, and supporting your body throughout the night.
At Eco Terra, we offer a high-quality natural and organic Hybrid Latex Mattress. This bed combines the benefits of organic latex with an innerspring mattress to deliver luxurious comfort and superior support. Plus, due to its natural and organic construction, it is a healthy and eco-friendly option. Did we mention it’s also extremely affordable? Try out the Hybrid Latex Mattress today, and if you decide you don’t like it, you can return it within 90 days, free of charge.
If you’re not looking to replace your mattress, consider Eco Terra’s 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper. This topper comes in Soft, Medium, and Medium-Firm, allowing you to fine-tune the feel of your existing bed to your sleep preferences.
Making New Year’s resolutions around improving your overall well-being can also be a great way to prioritize your own sleep this year! Think about what changes you want to make to get more sleep, like reducing stress levels, making healthy eating choices, exercising more, and having more energy. Prioritizing sleep can help you make all of these changes in your life.