30 Day Challenge: A Healthy Sleep Schedule

10,000 steps a day—that’s over 300k steps in a month. Walking is something we do without thinking, so making a few adjustments (a bus stop here, an extra lap with the puppy there) have made a huge difference in how we view taking extra steps toward everyday fitness. With all the awesome ways you’ve adjusted your lifestyle to get to 10k a day, we want to know if you’ll keep on keepin’ on! Let us know in the comments below or share with us using the hashtag #TEG30DayChallenge.

Next up: When was the last time you felt truly rested after catching 40 winks? We like to call it the flamingo effect—these lovely animals sleep standing up because there’s nowhere comfortable for them to sleep. Unlike for us, with the luxury of mattresses and pillows, it’s a surprise that getting the proper amount of sleep can be a challenge. On average, single working women get less than six hours of sleep per night. That’s less time than you spend at the office, not including your commute! Cue the double latte.

This month, we want to explore the best way to support our body during its recovery hours. While we dream of our fantasy vacation, our body is also actively working to organize our thoughts and prioritize all we’ve processed throughout the day. But without the proper amount of sleep, our brains won’t fully process all it needs to—and leaves you seriously under rested.

There isn’t one single factor that is responsible for how well you sleep, so making small adjustments is the best way to discover your optimal sleep method. It’s important to consider your individual personal lifestyle because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that will solve your bedtime woes. So, we’ve partnered with sleep experts, the National Sleep Foundation, to bring you a few tips to get you on the right track to sleeping soundly:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Seems simple, right? Now consider how giddy you are to sleep in on Sunday and the late nights you’re pulling on Saturday. Those two days of the week still count—it can mess with the sweet sleep rhythm you’ve created during the rest of the week.
  • Avoid napping. This seems obvious, but we know how sometimes a power nap is the only way you can function to get to the end of the day. Reconsider your sleep schedule and adjust that first before adding a nap that throws the whole cycle off.
  • Cut the caffeine! Caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals can make it difficult to sleep due to indigestion. A good rule of thumb is to eat a full meal two or three hours before bedtime (and a snack 45 minutes or so before). If you’re considering a cup of coffee as a nightcap, remember that even decaf coffee can contain between two and 12 milligrams of caffeine—despite your best effort you may be up counting sheep.
  • Get comfortable. A good mattress and pillow make a huge difference. Mattresses have about a nine year shelf life (if they’re good quality) so if you’re still rocking your first bed post-dorm, it may be time to consider investing in a mattress for you (and not as a party pit stop for all of your roommates).
  • Bright lights big city! 35% of Americans don’t have bedroom curtains or shades—this is a problem because light affects your circadian rhythm. Invest in curtains that block light and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning (or whenever your waking hours are).
  • Decompress! We mean it—actually relax. Make your bedroom a space dedicated to sleeping, not working or scanning Instagram. This helps reinforce the association of your bed with sleep.
  • Not tired yet? Relocate. Go into another room to read or do something soothing like writing down your thoughts. This will help you unwind without bringing anxieties into bedroom with you.
  • Exercise. We see you rocking those 10k steps like a pro and even that light exercise can help you improve sleep. But consider timing your workout right—try doing them in the morning so you aren’t up all night post Zumba. Either way, exercise is a top contributor for good sleep, so whether morning, noon, or night, it’s a great way to sleep more soundly.
  • Cool down.  A room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees is the ideal temperature for sleeping. If you’re too hot or too cold you’ll toss and turn.
  • Time of the month. Mother nature’s tendency to cramp, bloat, and generally make us miserable for a week can lead us to over-the-counter solutions, but beware: Many of these products contain caffeine (up to 60 milligrams) and will keep you up at night. Double check ingredient labels.

To help you create the best ambiance for your dreams to roam free, we’ve partnered with the National Sleep Foundation to bring your room and REM up to par.

To enter: Tell us in the comments below what your biggest sleep issue is for a chance to win one of the prizes listed above.
Deadline: You have until Monday, June 8, at 11:59 PM CST to enter.

*Winners are responsible for pick-up and applicable taxes.

We know you love snuggling in fresh sheets (a hint of chamomile we detect?) so give your body the rest it deserves and make your bedtime a priority. Your mornings will thank you if you start waking up on the right side of the bed, regularly.

Sweet dreams!

 

This month’s 30 Day Challenge was sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation but all of the opinions herein are those of The Everygirl editorial board.