We tend to think of sleep as the time between falling asleep and waking up. Those are important, but what you do during the day matters too.
Whether you’re busy at work, running endless errands, or dropping off (and picking up) the kids from school, you’re either helping or hurting your Zzz’s.
Make some small changes will help you slay the day and sleep like a baby at night.
So let’s dive into what’s stealing your sleep during the day, and what you can do about it:
Sleep fact: Exercising isn’t just important, it’s essential.
We know, it’s a January “new year, new you” cliche, but really, getting regular exercise is the kindest gift you can give your body — for feeling and looking good now, and for sleeping well tonight. Exercise boosts your energy (and your mood, thanks to serotonin release) and without it you could be at higher risk for sleep apnea.
Sleep fix: Start a workout routine that works for you, but be sure to include both aerobic activity and strength training. Hate the gym? Lace up your running shoes and run 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Not a runner? Walk briskly 20-30 minutes daily — the second half of your lunch hour is an ideal workout window that will energize you all afternoon. Strength training twice a week will tone your body, make you stronger, and boost your metabolism, helping you stave off weight gain and diabetes.
Sleep fact: Avoid long, late afternoon naps.
Kids and adults alike looove nap time. But long afternoon naps can undermine your sleep. Taking a long nap (more than 20 minutes) late in the day can make you groggy and prevent you from falling asleep at bedtime. Or, possibly worse, cause you to wake during the night.
Sleep fact: What you eat (and when you eat it) impacts your sleep.
One of the biggest sleep bandits we all hear about is caffeine. Coffee or tea is more than a ritual, it can help you wake up and keep you alert throughout the day. But if you drink it later in the afternoon you may find yourself struggling to sleep at night.
But did you know that what you eat throughout the day can effect how you sleep at night. Yep. It's true. Eating things fats, onions, chocolate (sorry!), and spicy foods before bed may disrupt your Zzz's.
Sleep fix: Eating well is more addictive than indulging in the latest trendy fried chicken sandwich. You don’t have to be a purist, but do be mindful about choosing foods that are good for health — and healthy sleep. Skip products made with refined grains like white bread and crackers. Instead, opt for a handful of nuts or a serving of cottage cheese. Likewise, alcohol can compromise sleep, so stick to a glass of wine for optimal rest.
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