Sleep is one of those things you take for granted….until you don’t get enough! Just one night of tossing and turning, laying in bed waiting, and willing yourself to sleep is enough to make you appreciate how important those precious moments of rest are to your mood, your health, and your weight loss journey.
We’ve put together our best tips to help you make the most of every minute of shut eye, naturally!
1. Embrace the dark.
Your bedroom should be dark. And when we say dark, we mean dark.
If you can, use some blackout curtains.
Other ways to set the mood include getting rid of any electronics that emit light — digital watches, alarm clocks, cell phones, and more — it’s amazing how many little gadgets we have laying around! If you can’t shut them off or shut them out, consider covering the light with a piece of electrical tape — there are even fancy stick-ons you can get.
Another thing you might consider is getting a sleep mask. Shop around and try different kinds. It can take some getting used to but a good night’s sleep is worth it!
2. Keep the pets out of the bedroom (or at least out of the bed).
As nice as it is to have some cuddles from your fur babies, reserve that for first thing in the morning after a good night’s, not at 2 a.m. when they feel the need for some love. If you can’t keep them out of the bedroom, take off any collars that might jingle or rattle at night. A cat stretching or a dog shaking can make a surprising amount of noise when it’s tags are jingling as you’re dozin off to sleep.
3. Quiet your room.
This means shutting off the videos and making sure your spouse and/or kids know it’s quiet time.
Some people use some white noise machines to help shut out any noise you can’t control — city sirens, inconsiderate neighbors, and the like.
You can find some earplugs that work for you, if absolute quiet is not possible. Like with the sleep mask, shop around and find the ones that will work for you.
4. Quiet your body and mind.
Try some meditation or deep breathing before going to bed. Anything that will help you relax is a good way to usher in a good night’s sleep, and there are tons of great resources for that!
5. Put it on paper.
If you’re a planner, do a dump list before going to bed. Write down all of the things that you’ll have to remember so that you don’t run through them over and over and over again as you’re trying to fall asleep. Get them out of your head and on paper before you even get in bed and try to catch some zzz’s.
If you’re someone that runs through the preceding day’s events in your mind, try journaling before bed. This can help you run through the events of the day and work past the things that you wish you had said or not said, or done or done differently. Write them down and say “sayonara.”
6. Give yourself time.
The most important thing is making sure you’re allowing yourself enough time to sleep.
It seems simple, but how many times do you suddenly realize that you should have been in bed 2 hours ago in order to get a good night’s sleep?
Set a realistic bedtime and be faithful to it. Your goal is to sleep through the night and wake without an alarm clock (though for most people this takes time!). If you only give yourself 5 hours until you need to be up and preparing for your day, that’s much less realistic.
In a perfect world, we’d all clock 7-9 hours each night. But most of us don’t live in that world.
Start where you are and work up to a goal. Start out by going to bed 5 minutes earlier than normal, then 10 minutes, then 30 minutes. As you do this, you might have to reevaluate your commitments and prioritize accordingly. Before long you’ll be getting good solid sleep that will not only make you feel better, but also be healthier and achieve your weight loss goals.
Sleep is not optional, it’s vital. If we don’t care for your sleep as much as we do our diet and exercise routines, then we won’t reap the full benefit of any of them. Make a plan and commit to good quality sleep every night. It really is that important.