When you think of a healthy lifestyle, what comes to mind? Healthy eating? Water? Physical activity? What about sleep?

Sleep is the often-forgotten member of the wellness family who most definitely deserves a seat at the table. However, that might be easier said than done.

If life has you tossing and turning, counting sheep and staring at the ceiling while you should be snoozing, here are a few ways to take control and fix your sleep schedule.

How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule:

How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule:

When it comes to forming a habit, routine is everything. Even if it seems tough, it’s important to stick to it until it becomes second nature. If you want to fix your sleep schedule, try these three tips:

  1. Choose a realistic bedtime (and rise time) that benefits your life. When setting your sleep schedule, think about the rest of the day. If you find yourself facing too many challenges to hit the pillow on time, consider adjusting! This chart is the perfect place to start. Pick your wake-up time and go from there!
  2. Shift your bedtime back by 10-15 minutes each night. Change doesn’t always happen overnight, especially a drastic one. If you want to adjust your sleep schedule by an hour or more, take it slow. Go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier every night until you reach your desired time. These minor adjustments are gentler on your body and will help the change stick!
  3. Consistency is key. Once you’ve established a healthy bedtime, keep it consistent. We already know what you’re thinking, and yes, this DOES include weekends. Keeping your sleep window consistent seven days a week will ensure you’re getting enough rest. Your body will get used to this new routine, and you will feel more rested in the long run!

Healthy Sleep Hygiene

Healthy Sleep Hygiene:

Sometimes, life can get in the way of sleep quality. Your dog shredded a roll of toilet paper right as you were turning off the lights; your mom called you and talked for two hours; you’re running behind on your nightly chores; your kid just told you about their science project that’s due tomorrow. It’s true you can’t always get seven to nine hours, but here are a few things that will help your sleep quality:

  • Avoid drinking water and other liquids an hour before bed to reduce the 3 a.m. bathroom breaks.
  • Cut out afternoon caffeine to fall asleep faster.
  • Try not to nap during the day, or keep your naps under 20 minutes, so you’re nice and sleepy at night.
  • Get active for at least 30 minutes daily so your body can unwind.
  • Stop using your phone, tablet or TV one hour before bed to allow your eyes to rest.
  • Read, meditate or stretch before bed, so you can hop under the covers stress-free.

The Benefits of Restful Nights:

Quality sleep does more than keep the yawns at bay. It improves several aspects of your life.

Common benefits of sleep are:

  • Increased productivity and energy
  • A regulated mood
  • A managed appetite
  • Increased heart health
  • A boosted immune system

If the right amount of sleep gives you great perks like improved mental health and stress relief, what happens when you aren’t sleeping well or long enough each night?

The side effects of sleep deprivation include:

  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Problems concentrating
  • Fatigue

Over time, the lack of sleep can also lead to long-term health problems like diabetes and obesity. While missing a few hours of sleep occasionally is a part of life, prioritizing sleep is important for daily function.

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule will pay off in big ways, so tonight, start putting your sleep first. Soon, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day … EVERY day!

Looking for more ways to incorporate healthy living into your day? Check out our blog posts for tips!