Tips you shouldn’t sleep on



You can rest nice and easy knowing these sleeping tips.

Logan Phelps, Features Writer

Many people don’t understand the importance of a good night’s rest. Your sleep schedule and nightly routine are vital to keeping up your energy as well as motivation needed for the day ahead. One seemingly insignificant change can cause you to roll uncomfortably for hours and wake up more tired than you were the day before. Sleep affects more than just your energy. If you don’t get enough, you may not be productive, experience irregular emotions and your appetite may increase. So how can you fix your sleep schedule?
1. Sleep when your natural circadian rhythm tells you to
Go to sleep roughly the same time every night. This will set your internal “sleep schedule clock” to a regular time so you can fall asleep easily. There are several apps for your phone that analyze how you sleep. They can figure out what the best time is for you to wake up based on when in the light sleep stage. If this is appealing to you, then you’ll be happy to hear that many of these, such as Sleep Cycle, are free so you won’t have to spend a dime to get quality sleep.
2. Do not sleep in (even on weekends!)
Sleeping in confuses your body and continually resets your sleep cycle. If you need an alarm clock to wake up, that is a sign that you need to go to bed earlier. You can feel very tired and even “jet-lagged” if you stay up later and sleep in later on weekends than on weekdays.
3. Minimize naps
Many people love taking naps. However, even 30 minutes of sleep in the middle of the day can cause sleep issues. Even if you slept poorly the night before, taking a nap will only make the upcoming night’s rest worse. If you feel yourself getting tired, find something active and stimulating to do like exercising or household chores. If you really can’t help it, nap in the early afternoon for under 30 minutes so your body doesn’t complete the sleep cycle.
4. Minimize light exposure
Melatonin is a chemical the brain produces to induce drowsiness. In well-lit areas, especially those with natural sunlight, your brain produces less melatonin to keep you awake. In dark areas, more melatonin is produced to make you drowsy. You can use this to help wake yourself or fall asleep faster. In the morning try to open curtains, go outside, or use a therapy light lamp to increase your exposure to light. At night, limit your light exposure starting at an hour or two before you go to bed. All electronics produce “blue-light” which mimics natural sunlight. It is extremely stimulating to the brain, and exposure can prevent you from sleeping an hour or two after you use them. Thankfully, staring at a screen for many hours a day doesn’t affect your circadian rhythm as long as you limit your blue-light screen usage to daylight hours only. Many devices have a setting that turns off blue light emissions. These settings help but devices should still be avoided as videos and games can be stimulating to your brain and cause you to stay awake. Blue-light glasses can filter the light so you don’t see any blue wavelengths. You can also set an alarm on almost all smart devices to remind yourself to get off your devices an hour before you hit the sack. This will allow your brain ample time to produce melatonin and get ready to sleep.
5. Wind-down time
Before you go to bed, find something relaxing to do. Reading, listening to music, or even taking a bath can help you clear your mind from the stress, frustrations and negative emotions. Leftover negative thoughts can prevent you from having a restful night, so having a regular activity every night to help you wind-down may be crucial to your night’s rest. You can read a book or magazine, listen to music or even practice meditation — anything that isn’t very stimulating.
Hopefully, these tips will help you improve your sleep. You may be surprised at how much several nights of good sleep can change your day.