You sleep every night, so you should be pretty good at it by now, right? Unfortunately, many of us don't get the quality sleep we need. If you’re waking up tired and fuzzy-headed, it can be harder to remember things, like where you left the keys when you’re rushing to get out the door, or maybe at work, you don’t feel as focused or productive as you could be.
Being tired also throws your hunger hormones out of whack — a sleepy brain loses executive function, so it’s harder to make healthy food choices. What that means is, when you hit a wall late in the afternoon, you’re more apt to grab a candy bar, a bag of chips, or other sugary or salty snacks that would not get a nutritionist’s stamp of approval.
Not surprisingly, by the time you get home you may be feeling irritable or cranky, and a little wound up. Not the best state of mind for peacefully drifting off a few hours later. To feel your best during the day, you need to sleep well at night. Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand you can wave to make that happen. But there are some simple steps you can take to help you sleep better.
Aim for a refreshing amount of sleep. While this will differ for everyone, generally it’s about eight hours. It’s tempting to stay up late to cram in those last household chores or answer emails, but really, the world won’t end if the laundry is dirty for another day, or the dishes are piled up in the sink. Create a short, easy bedtime routine. Stretching or yoga, or reading a book can be relaxing. More often than not, it’s an active mind caught up in worry and anxiety, agitation, or even sadness that prevents us from falling into a restful sleep. So keep the screens away and properly unwind.