Getting a good night’s rest is important for people of all ages, but actually achieving that can be easier said than done. It is no secret that many adults, as well as teenagers and children, suffer from a lack of adequate sleep. Some of us just have a hard time actually falling asleep while others spend the night tossing and turning instead of snoozing.
Though our sleep problems may differ from one person to the next, one thing is certain – sleep deprivation is bad for your health. It does more than just make you tired. WebMD notes that a lack of proper sleep can cause everything from auto accidents to heart disease. Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to boost your chances of sleeping better each night that you get into bed.
Whether you have a bit of insomnia or are just looking for a few ways to improve your sleeping, the tips below will put you on the right path for a good night’s sleep.
Ways To Form A Better Sleep Habit
1. Create a routine. To avoid laying in bed for what seems like forever and being unable to fall asleep, establish a routine where you go to bed at the same time each night. Doing this will signal to your body that this particular time of day is only for sleeping. Just be sure to stick with the schedule on the weekends or you will sabotage your own efforts.
2. Restrict before bedtime activities. Resist the urge to check your email, text friends, play video games or watch television before you go to bed. Instead stick to things like journaling in a notebook or reading from a physical book (not an ereader). This helps to ensure that your brain does a little unwinding before preparing for sleeping.
3. Exercise daily. Numerous studies show that regular exercise helps people deal with insomnia and get better sleep overall. So, even if you’re not an insomniac, you can still benefit from a little physical activity. Remember that exercising boosts your adrenaline, which means that you should do it earlier in the day and at least two hours before bedtime to prevent the adrenaline from interfering with your sleep schedule.
4. Consume magnesium-rich foods. Recent research is proving that magnesium plays an important part when it comes to sleeping through the night. Common sources of magnesium include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. Though getting it through natural sources in your diet is best, you can also opt for magnesium supplements for sleeping.
5. Give yourself plenty of time to sleep. Experts agree that at least 7 hours of sleep is needed for us to get well-rested. Any amount less than that and the body’s cortisol levels increase, which can cause a variety of health issues other than sleep problems.
6. Sip on some chamomile tea. Though you don’t want to drink too much liquid before bed lest you wake up needing to urinate, it is proven that a bit of chamomile tea before bed can result in better sleep. This is a result of the herbal drink’s ability to reduce anxiety, which is often the cause of insomnia.
7. Consider power napping during the day. Some people swear by naps as a way to ensure a good night’s rest. If you do want to give this a try, focus on power naps that last no longer than 30 minutes. If you nap for longer periods, then you can end up in a deep stage of sleep that will leave you feeling groggy when you awaken and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night.
8. No clutter in the bedroom. Instead of leaving clothes and other items strewn about the room and on the dresser, keep the room free of any clutter. A nice, minimalist room like this will make sleeping easier since your mind won’t waste any time getting anxiety of the messy state.
9. Restrict bedroom activities. Avoid putting a television or workout equipment in the room. Instead, just use it for sleeping and being with your partner. Once you start using it for other activities, your brain no longer associates the room with sleeping and thus makes it harder to get some shut eye.
10. Create the perfect sleeping oasis. In order to wake up well rested in the mornings, you need to create a sleeping environment that optimizes your night so that you can achieve this. This includes things like getting a mattress that is comfortable and using a white noise machine for sleeping.
11. Keep it cool. A room that that too warm or too cold will lead to disruptions during the night as you wake up more frequently. Researchers have studied it and determined that the ideal temperature is between 65 and 75 degrees, with around 68 degrees being the sweet spot.
12. Create a wake-up time habit. By waking up each morning at the same time, you train your body, which leads to good sleep patterns. This means no sleeping in on the weekends though, as breaking the habit is not good for your routine.
13. Time for a hot bath. Taking a hot bath or shower before bed is a great way to make falling asleep an easy process. The change in your body temperature is actually proven to induce some sleepiness in you. It also helps you relax, which is good for relieving stress and anxiety before you attempt to catch some zzz’s.
14. Limit your caffeine intake. Though it doesn’t affect each person the same, it is best to restrict your caffeine to mornings and afternoons as to avoid having the effects lingering while you’re trying to get some shut eye. For most people, the rule of thumb is no caffeine in the evening (at least four hours before bedtime), but others experience long lasting caffeine effects and should only consume it in the mornings.
15. Don’t focus on not being able to sleep. If you find yourself in bed unable to sleep, do not think about the fact that you’re having trouble sleeping. Doing so will result in stress and anxiety that will keep you away even longer.
16. No pets in the bed! Sure, it feels awesome to have your cat or dog cuddle up with you at night. But guess what? Your favorite four-legged friend is actually disrupting your sleep! So, have some snuggle time before bedtime and then put them on the floor or in their own bed.
17. Kids in their own beds. Just like with pets, letting your children sleep in the bed with you will result in poor sleep quality for you. Granted, this rule is easier to enforce when they’re old enough to understand. For younger kids, let them fall asleep in your bed (if you must) and then put them back in their own bed.
18. Try some soothing sounds. To relax your mind and body for sleeping, you can create a habit of listening to soothing music or sounds. Stay away from things like rock music that pump you up. Instead go with something like classical music or sounds of a waterfall for relaxation.
19. Dim all the lights. An easy way to get those eyelids to drooping is to dim your lights at home. This is easily done with a dimmer switch. Don’t have one? Consider using lamps with low wattage bulbs or candlelight for the same effect.
20. Time for an electronics curfew. Specialists have been saying for years now that the blue light from electronics interferes with our sleep. The easy way to fix this is to stop using all electronics a few hours before bedtime. Try reading or family time instead.
21. Keep alarm clocks out of sight. If your alarm clock has a digital display, then it can interfere with your sleep. Even if it doesn’t, you still need to turn it away so that you don’t stare at the time when you can’t sleep or fixate on the time if you wake up in the middle of the night. Or consider getting a good eye mask for sleeping instead.
22. Get plenty of sunlight. During the day, it is important for you to go outside and get some sunlight. Doing so helps regulate your body’s internal clock. The result is less daytime sleepiness and an easier time getting tired at night.
23. Drink a warm beverage before bed. Nearly everyone has heard of drinking warm milk before bed, but there isn’t anything special about milk. Truth is that almost any warm drink before bedtime will relax you before sleeping.
24. Sniff some lavender. It is proven that inhaling the smells of lavender relax and help insomniacs sleep. So look for scented candles and essential oils.
25. Attempt total relaxation. Use the total relaxation technique to signal to your body that it’s time to get some much needed R&R. To establish this routine, the technique requires tightening and then releasing each muscle, starting with the toes and working up the body.
By following some of these tips, you will be well on your way to a restful night’s sleep.