5 Tips to Improve Your Health by Practicing Better Sleep Habits

With long days spent at the salon, photo shoots, trade shows and travel, it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. Most people require seven to nine hours of solid sleep per night, but many of us don’t get that. And when you don’t get enough good-quality sleep, your mind and body pay the price. Poor sleep can impact mood, worsen anxiety and depression, influence appetite and metabolism, and even affect one’s immune system. Below, a few tricks for getting the most out of your daily sleep routine.

1) Avoid Napping: Sleeping during the day affects your sleep cycle at night, so if you nix the naps, you’ll find that you get better quality zzzs later. If you can’t go without a daytime snooze, limit your sleep time to 20 minutes or less, and do it in the early part of the day. Another way to overcome that afternoon slump is to go on a short walk, take an invigorating dip in a swimming pool, or drink a refreshing glass of ice water.

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2) Dim the Lights: Lower light levels help signal your brain to make melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. Dim the lights in your bedroom two to three hours prior to bedtime to create a relaxing environment. Light some aromatherapy candles to enhance the mood.

3) Keep it Quiet: Loud noises can be distracting and detrimental to sleep. Use a fan, air conditioner, or a white noise app or machine to make your room more sleep-friendly. If you’re still experiencing issues with noises like traffic or neighbors, opt for headphones or ear plugs to drown out any undesirable sounds.

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4 Eat Light: Consuming a large or heavy meal before bed can lead to insomnia. Make sure to finish dinner several hours before bed, and avoid foods like pizza that cause indigestion. If you’re still hungry in the evening, indulge in a light snack that won’t disturb your sleep, like nuts or yogurt.

5 Exercise Early: Working out can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly, but you want to avoid doing it close to bedtime because exercise stimulates the body to secrete cortisol, a stress hormone that activates the brain’s alerting mechanism. Try to finish exercising at least three hours prior to bed, or see if you can schedule your workouts first thing in the morning.

 

[Image: Getty Images]

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