If you’re having trouble falling asleep or waking up tired, it may be time to change your nighttime routine for the better. You’re not alone in this situation; according to the American Sleep Association, as 50 to 70 million US adults have a sleep disorder.
On the bright side, a good night’s rest is still within reach. Here are some simple but effective ways you can sleep better and wake up refreshed during the day.
Read more after the jump:
Regulate Your Body’s Sleep-Wake Cycle
Your body has an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. It controls your sleep-wake cycle by picking up cues that tell you when it’s time to wake up and go to bed. Here are some factors that influence your sleep and what you can do to improve it.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule (Even on Your Days Off)
Irregular sleeping patterns make it challenging for your body to know when it should wake up or go to bed. Retrain yourself by being strict about your bedtime and wake up time. While short naps have many health benefits, avoid napping for more than 30 minutes – it may disrupt your sleep schedule at night.
Use Light to Your Advantage
Just as how your body associates darkness with bedtime, it also needs bright light exposure during the day. To improve the quantity and quality of sleep, make it a priority to soak up some sunlight for an hour or two every day. If you live in a region that has too few daylight hours, you can use artificial bright lights to regulate your internal clock.
Have a Nighttime Routine
Everyone has a morning routine: when we wake up, we get changed, brush our teeth, and have breakfast. It only makes sense to have a nighttime routine as well.
Having a nighttime routine prepares us mentally and physically to go to bed. It can mean anything from light reading, taking a hot bath, or meditation. Whatever your preference is, it should be relaxing. Store away your devices, and find the method that works best for you.
Foods and Drinks That Affect Sleep
The quality and quantity of your food have a direct impact on how well you sleep. Take note of what you’re eating, and how it may be affecting your zzz’s. Before bed:
Don’t Drink alcohol: Having a couple of drinks at night alters your melatonin production, human growth hormone, and many other body functions needed to help you rest at night.
Don’t Eat late: A large meal or late-night snacks before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption.
Don’t Have coffee, sugar, or cigarettes: These are stimulants, and it’s the last thing you need when trying to sleep. The effects of coffee last between 6 to 8 hours, so try to avoid consuming any in the afternoon.
Improve Your Sleep Environment
Keep Your Room Cool and Dark
According to Sleep.org, the ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures and dimming the lights imitates the feeling of nightfall and signals your body it’s time to go to bed. Shut off any bright screens, and use blinds to block any unwanted light.
Have Some Peace and Quiet
Quiet is ideal for optimal sleep, but if you’re not comfortable with silence or need to drown outside sounds, there are artificial noises you can use. Use white noise, peaceful music, or other ambient sounds designed to help you rest. Keeping a fan has the same effect.
Find the Right Bed, Pillow, and Sleep Position
Your best choice of bed and pillows will depend on your preference of soft or fitness, as well as your favorite position to sleep in. Memory foam, a material widely used and also known as best mattress brands’ favorite, gives the needed support for most position types. If I have a king sized mattress and my former mattress is no longer comfortable and needs replacing I would consider the ins and outs of the previous one. Furthermore when disposing the old mattress, it is important to look into local mattress recycling centers. Very often recycling centers will pick up and buy out your old mattress for a nominal fee.
Your pillow also plays an important role in how you sleep. Does it give you too much or too little support? Non-hypoallergenic pillow fills could also cause the sniffles if you suffer from allergies.
Declutter Your Room
Clutter comes at a cost; in many cases, it can affect physical and mental stress and takes up most of our mental energy. Clearing the floor, furniture, and counters of unnecessary items will help you clear your mind and make your space more viable for sleep.
We hope that these tips and tricks help you reach your goal of better sleep. You can encourage a good night of rest through healthy eating, positive lifestyle changes, better sleeping habits, and a more sleep-inducing environment.