Tips to Help You Sleep Like a Baby and Wake Up Rested
Sleep is an integral part of our lives. It has the ability to affect every aspect of our days, including our energy levels and the ability to handle whatever challenges come our way. Even eating patterns, cravings and metabolism can be affected by our sleep patterns and quality of sleep.
As sleep takes up approximately one-third of your life — or at least it should — sleep quality can literally make or break the other two-thirds. Getting consistent restful sleep should be at the top of everyone's priority list. Start with these helpful tips to get you on the right track for improving your sleep.
Get Some Exercise
One of the best cures for sleep problems is exercise. This is true for many reasons, the simplest being when you’re more active during the day, it’s much easier for your body to know when to shut down at night. It also reduces anxiety, which can prevent you from falling asleep.
Kill the Stress
Stress can wreak havoc on your entire life, and your sleep is not immune to the chaos. It can prevent you from falling asleep and inhibit your ability to stay asleep and sleep restfully. Although it may be impossible to completely avoid stress, reducing your stress level as much as possible can make a big difference in your sleep quality.
Avoid Caffeine in the Evening
Caffeine is excellent when you wake up, and your brain isn’t functioning yet. It's not a good sleep mate, however. It stimulates your nervous system, and you do not need a stimulated nervous system when you’re trying to sleep.
Make Natural Light Your Friend
Artificial light can negatively impact your health and your quality of sleep. Expose yourself to natural light as much as you can during the day. If you work in an office with no windows close to your desk, try to find some spots with natural light on your breaks.
Eat Early in the Evening
It’s never a good idea to eat too close to bedtime, especially not full meals. Your body needs time to digest the food you consume. If that doesn’t happen, then your body may feel very uncomfortable while you’re trying to fall asleep.
Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
Having a consistent wake-up time and bedtime can go a long way to improving your sleep. Determine what time you need to rise every morning to have plenty of time to get ready for your day. Then, count back 8 hours to determine the time you need to go to sleep.
Alcohol has a tendency to make people sleepy, although drowsy may be a better word for it. As a result, many people think that alcohol is the perfect sleep aid, but that’s not actually true. Although it can help you fall asleep, it won’t help you stay asleep.
Get a Good Mattress
Many people underestimate the importance of a good mattress, especially when they see those outrageously high price tags. Although it may seem crazy to spend hundreds — probably even thousands — on a good bed, people often change their minds when they feel the difference that one can make in their lives.
Keep Naps Short
Taking a break during the day is good for mental cognition. Even napping when you feel too tired to go on can be incredibly beneficial for your body and mind. However, taking long naps during the day can negatively impact your sleep at night.
Mind Your Bedroom Temp
It’s important to maintain a comfortable temperature to optimize your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. If it’s too warm or too cold in your room, it will be difficult to sleep. Additionally, it can cause you to have restless sleep, which is as bad as getting no sleep at all.
Clear Your Mind
It’s incredibly difficult to fall asleep when your mind is a runaway train of thoughts. Trying to drift off to dreamland while your brain is going through your grocery list or the details for tomorrow's meeting isn’t going to work.
Create a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines can help you unwind for the day, and they signal your mind and body that it’s time to chill out. Just be sure that the last hour or so before bed is full of low-key activities, such as a warm bath and soothing lotion.
Establish a Daily and Weekly Routine
Routines are more than a simple list of things to do. They make your days go smoother and keep unmade decisions from cluttering up your mind. If you know that every Thursday you go grocery shopping, you might make Wednesday your menu planning day for making your grocery list.
Try Some Melatonin
When you have trouble going to sleep, no matter what else you try, consider taking melatonin. The body naturally produces this hormone in the right quantities and at the right time when it’s working correctly, but sometimes our bodies get out of whack. Taking melatonin can boost this hormone and help you sleep more restfully.
Work with Your Body's Natural Rhythms
Our bodies come with a natural, internal clock that is known as the circadian rhythm. It’s what tells your body that it's time to wake up or go to sleep. Problems occur when your circadian rhythm gets knocked off balance, and it can happen for a number of reasons.
Try Some Nighttime Yoga
Yoga is excellent for your health at any time of the day, but bedtime yoga is a great way to relax for sleep. The stretching and breathing involved in yoga get your body into such a state of calm that you may even consider sleeping on your yoga mat.
Spend More Time Outside During the Day
It’s important to be exposed to bright light during the day. As previously discussed, our bodies have natural rhythms, and light affects those rhythms. If you want to reset them, spending time outside during the day is a great way to start.
Dim the Interior Lights
Following the same rule, once the sun goes down, try dimming the lights in your home. This will reset your natural cycle as well as act as a signal to your body that it's time to wind down. Your body and mind should start relaxing quickly after getting away from bright lights.
Protect the Sanctity of Your Bedroom
When your room is full of clutter and chaos, your mind won’t be able to rest as it should. It’s very important to keep everything you can out of your bedroom that doesn’t involve sleep and romance.
Stay Away from Blue Light
Blue light signals daytime hours for your brain, so when you see blue light, it wakes you up. This causes problems for many people, because they are surrounded by blue light emanating from their computers, tablets and smartphones. The good news is you can get around this problem.
Keep the Room Dark for Sleep
Lights are not really conducive to a restful environment, so the darker you can keep your bedroom, the better. For those who work at night and sleep during the day — or simply need to keep a light on — there are some other very effective options.
Skip the Scary Movies
Always skip scary movies right before bed. Even if you’re a horror film fanatic and nothing scares you, you should end the scary movies a few hours before you try to sleep. This is simply due to the natural way the body works. Scary, action-packed movies get your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing.
Eat the Right Bedtime Snack
Many foods can keep you from getting a good night's sleep if you eat them too close to bedtime, but some can actually help. If you need a bedtime snack, remember to be strategic about it. For instance, eating heavily processed foods and those full of sugar isn’t conducive to creating a restful environment.
Keep Your Phone Out of Bed
You already know that blue light emitted by your devices can stimulate your brain, but there are also other reasons to keep devices out of your bed. First, it’s far too easy to go down a rabbit hole with social media, so you could breeze right past your bedtime without even realizing it.
Try a Sleep-Promoting App
People say there’s an app for everything, and that could come in handy when you have trouble sleeping. Some apps play music with sound waves that put you to sleep, some tell stories, and others lull you to sleep through a process similar to hypnosis.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
When you focus on falling asleep, you may find that sleep becomes aggressively elusive. As with other things, when you can’t stop thinking about it, your brain continues to stay active. Instead, focus on relaxing. There are many calming activities on this list, but here’s a new one to try: progressive relaxation.
Choose the Right Pillow
Having a good pillow is as crucial as having a good mattress. A low-quality pillow can cause cramps and pain in the neck and shoulder muscles, making for an uncomfortable night of sleep. To do its job well, your pillow needs to conform to your head, neck and shoulders.
Drink Some Warm Milk or Chamomile Tea
If you need extra help winding down for the day, try drinking warm milk or a cup of chamomile tea. Either of these warm soothers can help the body and mind relax and get you ready for a peaceful night's rest. If you have neither on hand, almost any type of warm drink can help.
Good health can benefit many parts of your life, including sleep. When your body is healthy, it works the way nature intended. Being healthy refers to physical, dental, mental, emotional and anything else in between that may affect your body and actions.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, no matter how much you try, you cannot get to sleep. While your environment can play a huge role in how well you sleep, so can chemical imbalances. Something like anxiety or other mental health factors may be the culprit that is keeping you from a good night's sleep.