Is getting more sleep on your priority list? Maybe it's your resolution? More sleep means more weight loss, more energy for workouts, less getting sick, and lowered stress levels. Sounds good, right? We had an expert give us tips on how to achieve our goal of extra snoozing.
Sleep expert Dr. Sujay Kansagra is the director of Duke University's sleep medicine program and Mattress Firm's sleep health consultant. He shared four tips on how you can get more zzz's, starting tonight.
- Think about staying awake. "It sounds counter-intuitive," he said, "but for those that find it difficult to sleep because they keep worrying about not falling asleep, do the opposite. Instead of worrying about falling asleep, think about staying awake instead. This often lessens anxiety and gives your mind a chance to relax enough to fall asleep." He told POPSUGAR, "It's a technique known as paradoxical intent."
- The to-do list. "This technique is for those that mentally work through their list of pending responsibilities before bed." Sound familiar? "In our fast-paced world, sometimes lying in bed is the first time you have to actually think about what's on this list." A-types will love this tip: "By creating a list of tasks (and even writing down your worries), you can prevent yourself from thinking about it excessively just before bed."
- The hot nighttime shower. Dr. Kansagra gave us a solid circadian rhythm hack: "The body temperature drops when we fall asleep. Taking a hot nighttime shower just before bedtime artificially raises the body temperature. The subsequent fast drop can make it easier to fall asleep."
- Lights out. That means no phones; sorry, guys. "Avoiding bright lights from TVs, smartphones, and computers prior to bed is difficult, but important. The brain decreases its natural sleep hormone, melatonin, when exposed to bright light at night. Try to unplug for an hour before bed."
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