Caring For Your Health When More Sleep Isn't An Option
If you're a new parent, a caretaker, work the night shift, or simply don't have much 'spare' time in the day, getting more sleep isn't always an option. Here are a few steps you can take to maximize your quality of sleep while supporting your overall health.
Avoid using your phone at least 2 hours before bed.
The light from electronics suppresses the release of melatonin and boosts reaction times and attention, which stimulates the brain when it should be relaxing. Avoiding electronics can make a big difference, because light messes with your circadian rhythm, making your body think it should be staying up later than it should.
Squeeze a 30-minute walk into your daily routine.
It might be the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day, but getting active boosts your health and energy when you can't get enough sleep. 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week is usually enough to feel more awake and have a positive impact on your health. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better during the few hours you can get some rest, because you'll feel more tired and ready to hit the hay.
Get outside in the morning.
Sunlight boosts your mood by regulating hormones that control your circadian rhythm, which can help on days when you've stayed up past your bedtime or woke several times throughout the night. Your body responds to the day-night cycle, so waking up and exposing your eyes and body to light is a good way to start your day.
Take power naps.
If you aren't getting enough quality sleep at night, napping for 30 minutes or less can potentially enhance daytime brain function.
Skip that nightcap.
Even a small amount of alcohol can impact your quality of sleep, potentially leading to fragmented or poor sleep. It's generally best not to drink within 3 hours of your bedtime.