Get Happier in a Weekend
Get Some Shut-EyeWeekend Makeover #2: Get a Better Night's Sleep
Often it's easy to identify what's keeping you up at night (your mile-long to-do list, for starters). But have you ever thought about whether your bedroom is truly sleep-friendly? Take this weekend to transform it into a more relaxing, inviting space.
- Eliminate electronics. Not only is watching TV or checking your e-mail in bed way too stimulating, but those glowing screens fool your brain into thinking it's daytime. Wind down with a bath, a book, or stretches.
- Chill out. Set your thermostat somewhere around 65 degrees F. Your core body temperature naturally drops several degrees while you sleep, so a too-warm bedroom can disrupt the process and make you restless.
- Block out annoying sounds. Even little things, like a creaking floorboard, can disturb your zzz's. Bring a fan or white-noise machine into your bedroom to drown them out or pick up a pair of earplugs while you're out shopping this weekend.
- Dim the lights. Exposure to bright light in the evening might throw off your body's internal clock because it prevents the release of melatonin, a hormone that causes sleepiness. Hang light-blocking window shades to make your room as dark as possible (or take the budget-friendly route and buy a sleep mask). If reading is part of your pre-bed routine, switch to lower-watt bulbs.
- Think minimalism. A cluttered bedroom invites stress, not sleep. Move anything not related to sleep or sex to another room.
We know how tempting it is to make up for lost shut-eye by snoozing late on Saturday and Sunday morning, but you'll pay for it. Your body gets used to waking up late surprisingly quickly, which is why you get that dreaded Sunday-night insomnia and Monday-morning sleep hangover, says Clete Kushida, MD, PhD, past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. A better way to pay off your sleep debt is to go to bed a little earlier on the weekend and wake up at your usual time. And avoid napping: It also skews your sleep patterns. Unless you take naps at the same time every day, skip the siestas.