For a lot of us, making sleep a priority is not something we think about much. We are so busy with our lives, we tend to try to pack our days as full as possible and let sleep take a back seat. However, sleep is not only important in helping us think and focus throughout or day, it is also extremely important for a healthy and fit body. Sleep helps us recover from our workouts and work harder the next day, and it helps regulate our metabolism to keep us at a healthy weight and body composition. And maybe most importantly, sleep makes us happier! Lack of sleep has been associated with depression and seasonal affective disorder.
While we may not be able to control how much or how well we sleep, we can control what we do to prepare for sleep. One of the best ways to help improve your sleep is by establishing a sleep routine. This is just a set of actions you take every night to prepare yourself for sleep. By practicing these same behaviors every night before bed you can signal to your brain that it is time to calm down, stop thinking about everything you need to do in your life, and focus on sleep and recovery.
Developing a sleep routine can be super simple. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out (although it can be if you want it to be), it could last as little as 10-15 minutes. A great way to remind yourself to do your routine when you’re first starting out is to set yourself an alarm to remind you it’s time to start winding down. You routine could contain anything relaxing that you like to do. For many of us, all the worries and tasks from the day can keep us up at night. One great part of a sleep routine is to do a dump of all your thoughts. Write down the things you need to do tomorrow or want to make sure you don’t forget. Then stop thinking about that stuff! After that pick a few things you like to do. Here are some ideas to get you started. You can read a book, practice meditation or yoga, take a shower or bath, or listen to music. Anything that is low key and relaxing is great!
If you’re looking to improve your health, body composition, workouts, and happiness try developing a sleep routine now and get yourself a good nights sleep!