Sleep deprivation literally affects every aspect of your life, even at a cellular and hormonal level. What that means practically is that mental clarity, energy, and motivation to create and sustain a healthy lifestyle can greatly be impacted. So, until sleep is improved, it is an uphill battle to expect yourself to move more and eat healthier on a consistent basis.
Regularity is king when it comes to getting high quality sleep. Your body already follows a natural circadian rhythm that regulates sleep, hunger, and other bodily functions. As the day darkens to night, your body releases hormones like melatonin that help generate feelings of sleepiness. However, our irregular sleep schedule can bypass these feelings and disrupt our sleep. Looking at screens like phones and TVs late at night, drinking a lot of caffeine or having caffeine late in the day, or simply not having a bedtime routine that down-regulates your system (calms you down) can all affect the quality of your sleep.
Select a sleep time and a wake time that you can stay consistent with and watch your sleep quality drastically improve. A couple tips to note when choosing these times, is making sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep and if possible, for your schedule, getting that sleep starting at an earlier time in the night. Again, due to circadian rhythms, we get the majority of our deep sleep in the earlier part of the night, and our light and REM sleep in the later part of the night/morning. Some experts suggest the hours between 10pm-3am are key hours to be asleep to ensure a healthy amount of deep sleep is taking place.
In short—try limiting caffeine, cutting down screen time at night, and follow a sleep schedule that works for you. This could be just the thing to get those quality Z’s!