FitSugarSource: 5 Ways to Change Your Sleep Habits
If you wake up feeling groggy and still tired, your sleeping habits may be to blame. Luckily, a few simple tweaks are all you need to increase the quality of your nighttime Zs. While developing Lark (a silent alarm clock and sleep monitor), Julia Hu spent years researching sleep (with the help of sleep experts around the world). Here are her simple tips for better slumber.
- Make Sleep a Priority: One night of bad sleep can affect everything, from how you perform at work to what you eat for lunch. "The first things that leave when we don't sleep very well are empathy, creativity, and energy, not to mention dieting," says Julia. Once you realize that staying up late affects how you feel, think, and what you do the next day, you may think twice before pushing back bedtime. "You don't say, 'Well, I'm just going to stay up for another drink' or 'I'm going to watch this movie at midnight instead of 10 pm,'" says Julia.
- Keep the Same Bedtime: Committing to the same sleep time is an extension of making sleep a priority. If you don't keep a consistent sleep pattern, your body will never be able to adapt to a rhythm that works with your lifestyle, Julia says. Instead, establish a bedtime and try to stick to it throughout the week.
- Have a Bedtime Routine: Whether it's reading a book or having a soothing cup of herbal tea, establish a routine before bedtime. Doing the same restful activities before bed regularly will help signal to your body to slow down and prepare for bedtime so you don't spend 30 minutes tossing and turning before you finally fall asleep.
- Track Your Habits: Sleep well one night, then feel like you've tossed and turned throughout the night the next? What you did during the day may be to blame. Choices throughout the day, not just what we do right before bed, affect the quality of our sleep. Track how you feel when you wake up the next morning and think of your previous day's activities. You may be able to draw correlations between that afternoon coffee break and a restless night, and change your habits accordingly.
- Don't Hit the Snooze: You may think that snoozing helps you fit in a few more precious minutes of sleep, but in reality you're not getting any quality sleep once the alarm rings. That jarring buzz increases the amount of adrenaline in your body and "that adrenaline rush is what causes grogginess," Julia says. If you can, invest in a more natural way of waking up, like a vibrating alarm (in addition to the Lark, fitness monitors like the Jawbone Up and Fitbit have this option) or an alarm that wakes you with light instead of noise.
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