Posted on January 09 2019
Someone should definitely start a petition to make naps mandatory during the work week. While we wait for that to happen, we spoke with Alon Avidan, MD, MPH, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center about the dos and don'ts to getting better slep. If you're ready to wake up feeling rejuvenated, begin to implement Dr. Avidan's simple advice tonight.
Create a Routine and Stick to It
Routines aren't just helpful for little kids; they're great for everyone. "The best thing is to ensure that people keep a regular sleep or bed routine seven days a week, and avoid deviating by more than one hour," Dr. Avidan. You may have to stay up late to finish a project for work — or the show you're binge-watching on Netflix — but try your hardest to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
Change Your Room Temperature
Another quick fix is to simply adjust the temperature of your bedroom. "We also recommend that people keep the temperature in the room a little bit cooler: 68 or 69 degrees," Dr. Avidan said. This is because hotter room temperatures tend to fragment sleep.
Watch Your Caffeine Consumption
Now that your routine and room temperature are set, be sure to check your caffeine habits. If you need caffeine to get your day started, be sure to have it before 10 a.m. Dr. Avidan advised. "Caffeine can last for as long as six to eight hours and it can disrupt the sleep architecture," he explained. Here are 15 caffeine-free foods that can boost your energy.
Avoid Heavy and Fatty Foods
While were still on the topic of nutrition, you should avoid eating heavy, fatty foods before bed, as they "tend to lead to reflux and problems with discomfort," Dr. Avidan said.
Cut Back on the Alcohol
If you're like Olivia Pope and like to relax with a glass or two of wine before bed, you may want to reconsider. According to Dr. Avidan, "Alcohol can fragment your sleep, particularly in the first half of the night."
Exercise in the Morning
A few simple changes in your diet can improve your sleep, which means you'll be able to wake up earlier and work out. "Exercise can actually improve sleep, particularly in the early part of the day," Dr. Avidan said.
It'll take time to adjust to working out at 6 a.m., but at least you won't have to wait for equipment to free up in the gym. Just in case you're wondering, lunch workouts won't hurt you, but Dr. Avidan did explain that exercise in the evening can be "quite disruptive."
Turn the Electronics Off
You can also improve your sleep by not using your electronics in bed. As fun as scrolling through Instagram and online shopping in bed can be, good sleep sounds a lot better. "We find that a lot of people bring electronics into the bedroom and have the cellphone and all kinds of electronic devices that emit light, which tends to disrupt the sleep and wake cycle," Dr. Avidan said.
If this sounds like a difficult habit to break, consider creating an office or workspace outside of your bedroom. Another thing to try is moving your chargers to other rooms in your home to prevent working on your devices in bed.
Get Rid of the Clocks
Finally, Dr. Avidan suggested removing clocks from your bedroom. By doing so, "you don't have to think about what time it is, especially if you have insomnia," Dr. Avidan explained.