Health

All-Day Habits for a Better Night’s Sleep

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Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

Think that your before-bed habits are the only thing affecting your quality of sleep? Guess again. Your habits all day long can have major implications on how you feel when you hit the hay. Read up to get the best shut-eye possible!

Morning

  1. Keep your wake-up time consistent: Different wake-up times every day of the week can mess with your sleep-wake cycle. When you start waking up at the same time — and skip the weekend sleep-ins — you’ll find yourself waking up sans alarm with more energy at the same time.
  2. Let the light in: Natural sunlight keeps your internal clock on a healthy cycle. As soon as you wake up, open your windows or turn on the light. Get out for a few moments of sunshine if possible!
  3. Breathe deep: When you start your day on a centered note, the benefits of a relaxed, focused mind will support your entire day and night. Begin a meditation practice or simply show some gratitude with a positive affirmation when you rise. Although bedtime is hours and hours away, a calm mind can help you achieve quality shut-eye later.

Afternoon

  1. Drink green tea: You might be tempted to reach for that second cup of coffee in the afternoon, but opt for green tea instead. It will give your body a boost — with a ton of extra benefits — and is less likely to affect your sleep later that night.
  2. Eat omega-3s at lunch: New research shows that regularly eating omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce sleep issues. Load up foods like salmon, flaxseed, and avocado at lunch to support a better night’s sleep.
  3. Fit in a workout: It doesn’t matter whether it’s morning, noon, or night — make time to exercise! You’ll drift to sleep more naturally after you’ve pushed your body. Just be sure not to go for intense cardio right before bed. Yoga is a great option to help your mind cool down if you need to work out later in the evening.

Evening

  1. Take time to chill: To promote quality sleep and be able to drift off easily, it’s important to take time to calm your mind and body. Whether it’s a hot bath, a few chapters of a book or you spend some time journaling, make yourself a priority, and wind down naturally.
  2. Skip the nightcap: After a long day, a few glasses of wine or a nice cocktail might seem like the perfect way to let loose, but alcohol can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and leave you feeling exhausted the following morning. If you’re serious about getting a good night’s sleep, it’s best to just say no to alcohol before bed.
  3. Turn off electronics: If you keep your electronics on all night, it is affecting your sleep patterns. Before bed, skip the tube or your laptop, and wind down with an article or book instead. This change seems small but makes an enormous difference in how you sleep through the night.

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