We all know how tough it can be to function on insufficient sleep, but most don't realize that sleep is not only important to help us feel rested, but it's also an important part of our body's recovery and plays a vital role in achieving good physical and mental health.
Here are 7 steps our coaches recommend to help you improve your sleeping habits:
1. Set a BEDTIME and Stick to it
Most of us need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Set a bedtime that makes that possible!
2. Consider Cutting the CAFFEINE
Caffeine increases cortisol which can keep us awake at night. As a rule of thumb, avoid caffeinated drinks after 2 pm.
3. Add a Nighttime SNACK
A small snack rich in protein and carbs can help induce feelings of sleepiness before bed by boosting melatonin production, our main sleep hormone. MetPro Approved options include: peanut butter and banana or Greek yogurt and berries!
4. WIND DOWN (not WINE Down)
Do you have a relaxing bedtime routine? Does it include alcohol? Alcohol reduces our time spent in deep sleep, our most restorative form of sleep, and leads to more mid-night awakenings. Consider an Epsom salt bath or some lavender essential oil instead.
5. Create Your Perfect BEDROOM
Is your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable? The optimal sleeping temperature is around 68 degrees. Eliminate all sources of light (including alarm clocks and phone screens) and add a white noise machine if silence isn’t an option for you.
6. Turn off the TECHNOLOGY
TVs, computers and phone screens emit light that keeps us up at night. Can’t avoid the screens? Consider investing in some blue light blocking glasses.
7. Get Some SUN
It sounds counterintuitive, but let us explain. Sunlight triggers your brain to START producing cortisol (a hormone responsible for waking us up in the morning) and STOP producing melatonin (your sleep hormone). Exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning helps wake us up while exposure to darkness in the evening (as the sun goes down) helps us wind down as our melatonin production will then resume before bed.
Sunlight helps regulate our circadian rhythm and has been shown to be the most effective first thing in the morning. For best results, consider adding a 5-10 minute walk to your morning routine.