May is Better Sleep Month! Take advantage of this time to create better sleep habits that lead to more restful sleep for a lifetime. We’ve created a list of tips on how to encourage better, healthier sleep at night, naturally. Challenge yourself to put them in practice for the rest of Better Sleep Month—and, hopefully, beyond.
Create a Sleep Schedule
Try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, even on the weekends. Sticking to a sleep schedule will train your body to recognize your set bedtime and allow you to adapt to a proper waking and sleeping cycle. If you frequently change the time you wake up or go to bed, your body won’t be able to adjust to a regular sleep schedule. Make an effort to schedule times that leave room for about eight hours of sleep each night.
To help you stay on track with your new May sleep schedule, mark your calendar with the times you wake up and go to bed each day. Using your sleep calendar to log which days you aren’t falling asleep at the proper time might help you identify the reasons why—for example, drinking too much coffee late in the afternoon or stress from a big day at work. Writing out your sleep schedule and any troubles will help you visualize the steps you can take to improve your sleeping patterns.
Stick to a Rigid Bedtime Routine
Daily activities impact your circadian rhythm and allow your body to anticipate upcoming events. Our bodies crave consistency, so developing a rigid bedtime routine will help signal to your body when it’s time to rest. Create a bedtime prep checklist to ensure you are preparing your body and brain for sleep the same way nightly. Good nighttime rituals include reading, meditating, brushing your teeth, closing the blinds, and getting under the covers. Your bedtime routine is personal to you, so take some time this month to think about the steps you’ll take to prepare yourself for quality sleep most comfortably.
Turn Off Electronics
Light cues from your environment can be detrimental to your sleep patterns and circadian rhythm. The light from electronics works as a stimulant in your brain, sending a confusing signal to wake up when it may actually be time for bed. Challenge yourself to keep electronics out of your bedroom this month, and record the nights you are successful on your sleep calendar for motivation. Put your phone and laptop in another room and click off your television before beginning your bedtime rituals. Try using a traditional alarm clock instead of your phone to avoid the temptation to check your texts or emails before bed. Your body and mind will thank you for the opportunity to relax and wind down in a dark space so you can easily fall and stay asleep.
Stop Hitting Snooze
Make May the month you stop hitting the snooze button in the morning. Although getting an extra five minutes of sleep sounds pleasant, it’s actually more harmful than beneficial for your body. Snoozing your alarm is detrimental to your natural sleeping patterns and damages the consistency your body has been working so hard to achieve. It can also make you feel more tired or groggy throughout the day. If you are an avid snoozer, try putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room this month to force yourself to get out of bed to turn it off.
Make Sleep a Priority in May
Hold yourself accountable to making better sleep a priority in May. While it’s important to do this always, concentrating on healthy sleep habits for just one month could set you up for a lifetime of quality sleep. If you succeed at the Better Sleep Month challenge, restful nights and productive days will be your prize.