Let’s face it, there are a lot of reasons why we don’t sleep the way we should. Stress is always a biggie, as is worrying about things that are important to us.
For one reason or another, we all lose sleep from time to time. There are, however, ways for you to get better sleep. Here are six things you can do right now to help you get some much needed rest.
1. Create a nighttime ritual … and stick to it – One of the best ways to help your body get the sleep it needs is to create a nightly routine and stay with it. Plan on going to bed every night at the same time … yes, even on weekends and holidays. If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you become sleepy, then try again. At the same time, try to think of things you can do to relax yourself each night before you go to bed – a warm bath, listening to soothing music, etc.
2. Put down your phone/tablet and turn off your TV – Research has determined lying in bed while using your phone or tablet could actually interfere with your sleep. Although you might think watching TV can help you drift off, it actually continues to stimulate your brain, which in turn keeps you awake. Listening to soothing, relaxing music instead of using your phone/tablet/TV will help you immensely.
3. Watch what you eat and drink – This is important to note not just before bedtime. What you consume throughout the day can have a lasting effect on you throughout the night. Never go to bed hungry or too full. The discomfort will most likely keep you awake. Of course, drinking a lot of water during the day is good for you, but just know there’s a good chance you’re going to be making a trip or two to the bathroom during the night. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine usually take hours to wear off, so that will also throw a wrench in your plans for a good night’s sleep if you don't plan accordingly.
4. Become more active during the day – There are lots of benefits to working out: weight loss, muscle tone, overall wellness, etc. But even if you just walk around your neighborhood for a little while during the day, it can help you get better sleep at night. Be careful though. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime as it might cause you to be a little too amped up to sleep.
5. Try your best to get comfy – It should come as no surprise that your surroundings impact your sleep. Ideally, you should feel nice and relaxed in your bed (comfy sheets, comfy – but supporting – pillows, comfy clothes, just everything nice and comfy). It also helps if your room is cool-to-cold. You tend to sleep better if your room is cold and you are tucked in to a warm bed. If you go to sleep later and wake up after the sun comes out, consider investing in some black-out curtains.
6. Minimize stress as much as you possibly can – Chances are, this is the hardest of things to do in this list. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say “I’m not stressed anymore,” and that’s the end of it? Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. Stress does take a toll on your sleep, everything from being able to fall asleep to staying asleep. Think about taking up meditation as a way to reduce stress. At the very least, grab a notebook and jot down all the thoughts running through your head before going to bed and tell yourself you’ll deal with them tomorrow. There are lots of ways to manage stress – it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you.
Even after all of this, if you still have trouble sleeping, it might be time for you to see a doctor. There are serious medical issues that could cause you problems sleeping.