Improving Sleep: Quality and Quantity

Did you know that getting a good night’s sleep is as important to your health as exercise and diet? While often overlooked…consistent, deep, and adequate sleep is vital to our well-being. At Libertana, we’re passionate about health – for the body and the mind. We know how many folks struggle with falling asleep and capturing quality rest. High-quality, consistent, and deep sleep helps us concentrate throughout the day, manage stress, and remain calm. For all those looking for a few sleep hygiene tips, we’re here to help!

Below are 5 tips that to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested and ready for the day:

1. Soak Up That Vitamin D!

Did you know our bodies have an internal natural clock? It’s called a circadian rhythm. And it helps regulate your brain, body, and hormones. The circadian rhythm conditions us to stay awake during the day and “tells” our bodies when it is time to sleep. The rhythm is natural, but there are ways to keep it healthy, strong, and consistent. Absorbing natural sunlight or bright light during the day is an easy way to help keep your circadian rhythm healthy. By soaking in some Vitamin D when you can, you’ll improve your energy throughout the day, and even strengthen the quality and duration of your sleep. So be sure to catch some rays!

2. Exercise During Daylight Hours

We all know that exercise is important for physical and mental health. And by working out frequently, you can keep your sleep schedule on track and improve your wellbeing. When you do exercise, try to prioritize doing so during daytime hours. Exercising too close to bedtime can have negative externalities. It can energize your body, making it more difficult to fall asleep, and even disrupt the quality of your sleep.

3. Establish Routines

We’re creatures of habit. And consistency is vital to maintain our body’s rhythm. You can bolster your sleep rhythm by starting your bedtime routine at the same time every night. And by setting a consistent wake up time, you can also improve the quality of your rest. Routines help train your mind and body. Think of them as blueprints that help condition your system to know when it’s time to wind down and relax. By creating natural internal body expectations, dozing off at night will become a less stressful, and more peaceful process.

We could all likely use a little less screen time these days – and cutting down on device usage prior to sleep is vital to a good night’s sleep. Exposure to electronic devices – like smartphones, laptops, or TVs prevent your body from winding down and producing the hormones necessary to trigger sleep. The blue light emitted by screens tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime. If you struggle with self-discipline, there’s an app for that! There are many apps for your phone and/or computer that block blue light and turn the devices off a few hours before you go to sleep.

5. Clear Your Mind

With families, bills, responsibilities, and 24-hour news, it can be difficult to calm the mind. Despite the distractions facing us all, one of the better ways to get a good night’s rest is to hit the pillow with a clear and calm mind. To settle your thoughts, try to keep a journal by your bedside. You can jot down musings, express gratitude, and/or practice daily affirmations­ – all of which can help reduce nighttime anxiety. Journaling is an excellent, low-cost way to help free your mind of intrusive thoughts so that you can peacefully unwind.

If writing doesn’t reduce your stress, there are other options. Maybe you could check out one of the apps for meditation, mental resilience, and sleep hygiene (there are many popular one’s available). Many are designed to help lower stress, reduce anxiety, and increase mindfulness. Meditation can help center your breath, calm the mind, and ensure you capture the restful, deep sleep you deserve.

We have all been under an unprecedented amount of stress this past year, and quality sleep is one of the most overlooked, yet vital parts of our physical and mental wellbeing. At Libertana, we consistently pride ourselves on high-quality, compassionate health care. We also think it’s imperative for folks to have the resources they need to improve their own health. We hope that these sleep hygiene tips are useful to you and that we can all look forward to better nights of sleep ahead.