Ahhh….sleep. You either love it or spend restless nights fighting it. No matter how you feel about rest, it’s important to your health and emotional wellbeing. If you’ve ever tried making a big decision after very little sleep, you know how incredibly difficult it is. With that being said, there are certain tried-and-tested ways to aid sleep.
Give Up Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine
Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps people awake. It is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and many pain relievers. If you’re a fan of caffeine and feel as though you can’t give it up, stop drinking it four to six hours before bedtime. The same can be said about cigarettes and alcohol. Abstain from smoking or drinking before calling it a night. You’ll sleep better by waking up less often.
Turn Your Bedroom Into an Oasis of Sleep
Nothing invites sleep better than a comfortable environment. Make your bedroom an oasis for sleep by eliminating distractions such as digital clocks and electronic devices. Try using a white noise generator to block out unwanted sounds, heavy curtains to keep sunlight from streaming in and maintaining a comfortable, cool temperature. If you tend to get chilly, make sure to keep a few extra blankets at the foot of the bed so you’re comfortable at all times while resting.
Get Into a Pre-Sleep Routine
An hour before bedtime, send a signal to your brain by engaging in relaxing activities. Take a bath, read an inspirational book or do some gentle stretching. If a matter deserves your undivided attention, sleep on it knowing that you’ll make a better decision after resting well. Avoid stressful activities that cause the body to secrete cortisol. This stress hormone promotes alertness which is something you want to avoid at night.
Try to Go to Bed at the Same Time Daily
Although it may be difficult to do some evenings, try going to bed around the same time each night and wake around the same time each morning. Get your body acclimatised to your sleep schedule. After awhile, you’ll find it easier to fall asleep; your body adjusts naturally. Get the rest of your family on board by insisting they adhere to a bedtime schedule. If you have children, make it a rule that all electronic devices get turned off at a certain time each evening. Allow them to read or listen to music but not play games or socialize with friends.
Stop Fighting Sleep
Our society is one that rewards active lifestyles and productivity. That’s why it’s so very important to know your limits. Stop pushing yourself to do more. Your To Do List will be just as full the next day. When your body tires, listen to it. Go to bed and snooze your way back to good health. Rest restores the body and gives you the brain boost you need to work, run your household, study, and play.
If You Can’t Fall Asleep After 20 Minutes, Read
If you’re not one to fall asleep quickly, do yourself a favour and keep a good book by your bedside. If you’re not counting sheepafter 20 minutes, read. Make sure the book you choose is one that doesn’t stimulate you. Avoid action-packed suspense novels. Opt instead for something motivational or inspirational. It’s a great time to read a self-help book packed with information. You’re likely to get through a few pages and sleep through the rest.
Nap Before Five PM
Although an afternoon nap is a great way to recharge your batteries, it’s often the reason why you’re not sleeping soundly at night. Keep in mind that if you’re going to nap throughout the day, make sure it’s short. 15-30 minutes is an adequate amount of time for a siesta, and make sure it’s before five PM. The later you nap, the greater the chance that you’ll spend the night staring at the ceiling and not your eyelids.
Eat a Light Dinner
Heavy foods wreak havoc on the digestive system. Your dinner needs to be light and contain ingredients that invite sleep like tryptophan. Foods high in tryptophan include nuts, seeds, tofu, oats, beans, lentils, eggs, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, and cheese. If you must snack, make sure it’s something that won’t disrupt sleep. There’s nothing worse than waking up with an achy stomach or acid reflux.
Don’t Drink A Lot of Fluid Before Bedtime
You don’t want to go to bed feeling parched but you also don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night rushing to the bathroom. If you must drink at night, keep a glass of water by your bedside and mindfully quench your thirst. Just don’t drink heavily before bed if you’re hoping to sleep throughout the night without interruption.
Let Natural Light Wake You
If you wake up and find it hard to go back to sleep, lay quietly until the first stream of sunlight enters the room. If blackout curtains are part of your décor, leave them open ever so slightly to take advantage of natural light. Let it greet and warm you before leaving bed. If you’ve ever wondered why cats love napping in the sun, you clearly haven’t felt how warm and soothing it is.
One often overlooked factor when it comes to sleeping better is your sleeping position, especially if you suffer from some back or neck pain, or snoring. By changing your position, you can improve your posture, breathe better and maintain better body temperature. Even changing from a back sleeper to a side sleeper, for example, can generate tremendous benefits.
Now that you know what it takes to get a better night of sleep, rest soundly. You’re doing your part to live happily and healthily. A well-rested body means a sharper mind with sounder decision making skills. It also helps you see situations for what they’re worth without overreacting. Your perception of events is shaped largely by the amount of sleep you get.