10 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
There’s nothing worse than not getting enough sleep. If it only happens occasionally, then you only have to deal with the aftermath on a very rare basis. If, however, it is happening more and more frequently, it is time to take action and to start getting a better night’s sleep. Here are ten tips that should help you get your very best night’s sleep, no matter where you are.
1. Make a schedule and stick to it.
One of the biggest obstacles between you and getting a better night’s sleep is probably your lack of a schedule. If you sometimes go to bed at midnight and sometimes at eight in the evening, your body has no cycle that it can rely on and therefore doesn’t know when it needs to go to sleep. Pick a time that works for you on the vast majority of your evenings and then try to be in bed, trying to fall asleep by that time every single night. This sort of regularity will be extremely beneficial.
2. Pay special attention to what you are eating and drinking.
Not only do you not want to be trying to go to sleep when you are hungry or when you are completely full, you should not be drinking alcohol, caffeine, or taking nicotine right before bed. Nicotine and caffeine are both stimulants that can keep you up for hours beyond when you want to be awake. And while alcohol might make some people feel sleepy, it does not lead to restful sleep and will probably actually wake you up during the middle of the night.
3. Develop a ritual. Habits are important.
They trigger your brain that you are getting ready to do something and can therefore help your body be more prepared for that thing. This is especially true of going to sleep. If you can develop a ritual, one that does not include the bright screens of electronics, you are much more likely to be able to lie down in bed, drift off to sleep, and stay asleep longer. A ritual might include taking a warm bath, reading, and listening to soothing music as you drift off.
4. Make sure your bedroom is ideal for sleeping.
If there is too much light in your room, you will not be able to get a good night’s sleep. If there is too much noise, the same thing will happen. If your mattress is uncomfortable, you might as well not even try to get to sleep. Create a bedroom, including a bed, blackout curtains, and even earplugs, so that you get the quiet, darkness, and comfort that you need in order to actually get the sleep that your body needs.
5. Exercise during the day.
While it is not a good idea to exercise right before you go to bed (exercise immediately boosts your metabolism, which gives you more energy and which can keep you awake far after your bedtime), you should exercise at some point during the day, to help burn off extra energy and calories that might keep you up. Find a time during the day that works for you. It might be first thing in the morning or it might be an hour before bedtime.
6. Stop taking naps.
If you are feeling the 3 pm doldrums and pushing them away with a nap, you might actually be putting a knife in the back of your sleep schedule. Long naps during the daytime will leave you too rested to actually get the restful sleep that you need at nighttime. If you absolutely have to take a nap to get through the day, limit that nap to between ten and thirty minutes and make it before mid-afternoon, otherwise you run the risk of absolutely upsetting your sleep schedule.
7. Turn off your electronics a half hour before bed.
Especially because most electronics emit a blue glow, which has been shown to trigger the mind to wake up, it’s time to banish electronics from your bedroom and, perhaps even more importantly, to stop using them about a half hour before you are going to try to go to sleep. Instead of watching television before bed, try grabbing a book or a magazine and reading it.
8. Your bed should be used for two activities: sleep and sex.
If you want your mind to be geared towards sleep when you hop into bed, it should not be the place that you answer emails, watch television, or browse the internet. Reserve your bed only for going to sleep or having sex. This will help put your mind in a relaxed state when you enter your bedroom.
9. Drink less water at night.
If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, it is probably because you are drinking too much water too late in the day (if not, you might have a medical condition, about which you should consult a doctor). Avoid drinking any water for about two hours before you are going to go to bed. If you wake yourself up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you’ll have a difficult time getting back to sleep.
10. Talk to a doctor.
You might be taking medications or participating in some habit that is making it more difficult to sleep. You might also actually have a sleep disorder that is preventing you from getting a better night’s sleep. Talking to a doctor is a great way to make sure none of your medications or activities are standing between you and your ideal sleep routine.