In this lesson, we are going to touch briefly on a number of daytime activities that help our nighttime sleep. I will go over each in more depth in their own lessons, but for now, I want you to start thinking about these activities and maybe even starting a few. We’ve covered a number of nighttime related things you can do to promote better sleep; however, there are several things you can do in the daytime that help prepare your body and mind for sleep when nighttime rolls around.
Number one: Be Active
If you can be physically active for at least an hour, that is going to burn energy and work your body. When the end of the day comes, your body will be tired and ready for sleep. Being active is also good for your heart and other organs. When you are more physically active, the better you will sleep.
Number two: Exercise
Okay, technically, this falls under being active. But the difference is that it is intentional and regimented, where a pickup game of volleyball or basketball might not be. Keeping yourself physically healthy lends itself to good sleeping. Losing weight and getting in shape helps considerably with insomnia, and while not the focus of this course, it can also cure sleep apnea.
Number three: Get Out in the Sunlight
Exposure to the sun helps to keep our Natural Body clocks in sync. The more you are exposed to sunlight, the more accurate your body clock will be. Way back before light bulbs, when the sun went down, we generally went to bed. Our bodies are hardwired to sleep when the sun goes down. Exposure to the sun helps our bodies to know what time it is internally. You can combine being active and getting sunlight very easily by doing something active outdoors. Running, hiking, a sport of some kind, whatever works. Even a walk is beneficial, and it doesn't have to be a sunshiny day. Exposure to daylight, even during overcast, is helpful.
Number four: Eat Right
If you haven't noticed yet, being physically healthy goes a long way in regards to sleeping. If you aren't where you should be health-wise, then take steps each day to get healthy. One part of that is eating healthy. I'm not saying you have to cut out everything you love, but strive to have at least one really healthy meal a day. And for that last meal of the day, eat a healthy meal at least two to three hours before bed. You don't want to be hungry at bedtime; that could keep you up. But you also don't want to eat and jump right in bed either. The digestive process could keep you awake, and if you eat junk food right before bed, your stomach issues could keep you awake.
Number five: Strive to be Substance-Free
There are a number of substances or drugs, both legal and illegal, that hurt your sleep. We will go into more detail on those in a later lesson, but caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco are three big ones. Try avoiding these at least 8 hours before you want to go to bed. More on this to come.
Number six: Don't Nap During the Day
It's nice to take a midday nap when you can, but if you have trouble sleeping at night, consider cutting out this nap during the day. This ensures you'll be more tired at night and more ready to sleep at bedtime.
In the next several lessons, we will look at each of these things more in-depth. As a quick review of today, though, be active and exercise, eat right, get out in the sun, limit your substance intake, and cut out that nap.
The next lesson is entitled ” Better Sleep With Exercise & Weight Loss.” In it, we’ll look more closely at how exercising and losing weight will benefit our sleep. Until then, happy Zzz's.