We all have a little more worry and uncertainty racing through our minds right now when we lay our heads on the pillow.
Getting a good night's sleep is a vital element in maintaining a strong immune system, and that's not the only reason to prioritize sleep. Lack of quality sleep can lead to weight gain, higher stress levels (which in turn lowers your immunity), depression, and even memory loss.
So get comfy, because here are some ways that you can finally start getting a decent night's rest.
- Steer clear of caffeine (such as coffee, soda, and, sorry, chocolate) later in the day and evening. Caffeine blocks the chemicals that tell your brain it's time to sleep.
- Don't drink too much fluid just before bed – it can lead to trips to the toilet and disrupted sleep.
- Try not to drink and doze. You may hit the pillow like a rock after drinking alcohol. Still, it can affect the quality of sleep in several ways – including intensifying sleep apnea and causing reflux or heartburn.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
- Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. Doing this will help keep your circadian rhythms in check.
- Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.It can help regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
And of course, there's an App for that - here are our top picks for Apps that will help lull you into a sweet sleep.
Headspace has made a name for itself as a meditation app, but it's also great for sleep. The free version has "sleepcasts," which are 45-55 minute-long audio experiences (kind of like adult bedtime stories) that help you visualize calming experiences, like a slow-moving train or a walk through a garden. There are new stories every night, so you you'll never get bored.
If you want to learn how you slept, this app is for you. It tracks your sleep patterns and provides tips to optimize your snooze time. Plus, it has an alarm clock that gently wakes you up when you're in your lightest sleep phase, so you'll wake up feeling refreshed.
With Pzizz, you can set a timer for the length of your sleep session, so it plays a soothing dreamscape (a combo of music, voiceovers, and sound effects) while you snooze; then, you can wake up to the built-in alarm. You'll need to upgrade for more advanced features, like the ability to choose different sounds, but the app offers a seven-day free trial.