Whether you’re trying to lose weight, sustain energy throughout the day or keep from getting sick, consistently getting good sleep is key. Not getting enough can lead to heart disease, an increased risk of diabetes and well, just feeling off all day. Need a little help getting good shut-eye? Read on for some ways to get better sleep.
1. Have a Wind Down Routine
During the evening, get into a routine where you relax and switch off after a busy day. Stop answering emails and don’t use your phone after 8pm so you have time to chill out and relax. Make a list of what you have to do the next day, read a book and do some relaxation exercises. All these will get you in the mood for bedtime.
2. Go to Sleep and Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
If you are having trouble sleeping, getting into a regular routine for bedtime and waking up helps your body regulate itself. Irregular bedtimes are unhelpful for people having trouble with sleeping. Set a time for bed and when you plan to get up. Your body rhythm will adapt and you will fall asleep more quickly.
3. Take a Warm Bath
A warm bath before bedtime helps you relax in time for sleep. It also helps your body reach a temperature that is suited to a restful state. Light a candle, put on some relaxing tunes and slip into some suds!
4. Make A Comfortable Bed
Having a bed that is clean, smells fresh and has comfortable pillows makes a difference when trying to get to sleep. If your pillows and sheets are old, then invest in new bedlinen to improve your sleep quality. Small things can make a big difference.
5. Get a New Mattress
Do you know how old your mattress is? Is it still supporting your spine when you sleep or do you have a lumpy mattress that needs replacing? Mattresses have a shelf life and do not last forever. If yours needs replacing, go do it. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.
6. Use Thick Curtains or Blinds
Lights outside your bedroom can distract you and disturb your sleep. Street lights, car headlights and timed lighting switches are just a few examples of things that can wake you up or prevent you from settling down at night. Get thicker curtains or a window blind to block out bright lights from outside.
7. Banish Blue Light
Blue light from phones and other electronic devices is one of the most damaging to sleep patterns. This type of light stimulates sensors in the eye to send messages to the brain that it is time to wake up. Start by banishing phones from the bedroom. Use a traditional alarm clock and not the one on your phone. Avoiding using a phone before bedtime helps prepare you for sleep.
8. Use Earplugs
Earplugs are useful if you live on a noisy street or shared house. They will block out most sound and help you settle down for a night of good sleep without being disturbed.
9. Avoid Alcohol Before Bedtime
Although alcohol can help relax people before bedtime, it is known to affect rapid eye movement or REM sleep, which is the deep sleep cycle needed for significant rest. With disturbed REM sleep, people wake up tired or sleep very lightly. There is also a temptation to have another drink right before bed to help you get to sleep, but this will disturb the deep sleeping cycle further.
10. Avoid Caffeine In the Evening
Caffeine is a stimulant and will keep you awake, either with its diuretic effects or its properties that keep you alert. Avoid drinking coffee and other drinks containing caffeine after 12pm so they don’t disturb your sleep pattern.
11. Don’t Eat Late in the Evenings
Eating a heavy meal late in the evening is another way of disturbing your sleep. Your body has to digest the food, and doing so will disturb your sleep. Meals with a high-fat content interfere with REM sleep, which means you will be restless and unable to settle.
12. Increase Bright Light Exposure in Daytime
Natural light not only boosts your vitamin D levels but also improves sleep quality at night. Get outdoors for some exercise, or just relax in the garden. The fresh air and natural sunlight will improve your sleep pattern.
13. Get More Exercise
Exercise is known to help people sleep better. If you get exercise in the morning or early afternoon it raises body temperature and allows it to drop later in the day. When the body temperature drops in the evening it stimulates sleep.
14. Reduce Daytime or Irregular Naps
Sleeping in the daytime or napping in front of the television does not help you settle at night and enjoy a decent sleep. Try to cut out the daytime siestas by exercising or staying active. By bedtime, you will be ready to settle down and sleep.
15. Limit Carbohydrate and Sugar Consumption
There are good reasons to limit your intake of carbohydrates and sugar. It helps with losing weight but will also positively affect sleep. Sugar eaten later in the day gives you energy and overstimulates you. It disturbs sleep patterns and also leaves you craving sugar the following day.
16. Take Melatonin
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. It increases its levels in the body in the evening to stimulate a natural sleep rhythm. By taking a melatonin supplement you may improve your sleeping patterns and feel more rested.
17. Use Essential Oils
Some essential oils have a calming effect and will enhance rest and sleep. Try a lavender pillow or a diffuser in the bedroom. The essential oils will help bring on relaxation and sleep.
18. Hide the Alarm Clock Face
Turn the alarm clock away from you when in bed. The temptation of having a clock ticking is to watch the minutes go by, which increases stress and insomnia. Loud alarms are unnecessary and a stressful way to wake up, so try and find one that has a subtle tone.
19. Sleep Until Sunlight
If you can, try to wake up naturally as the sunlight appears. By doing so you will stimulate a natural rhythm to your body that will respond to the sun rising. It also helps regulate your sleep patterns in a natural way.
20. Meditate Before Bed
A short meditation routine helps calm and relax your mind and body before bedtime. It helps prepare you for sleep by winding down and focusing on rest. By relaxing first, you will fall asleep more easily.
21. Rule Out a Sleep Disorder
If you have persistent disturbed sleep and natural methods are not working, you should rule out a sleep disorder. Visit your doctor to discuss the problem. By getting advice from a specialist you will be able to get the help and support you need to sleep well.
Stretch out your muscles before you hit the hay. Check out Everything You Need to Know About Foam Rolling.