Do you often still feel exhausted after a night of sleep or struggle to stay awake during the day?
Millions of people around the world suffer from poor sleep habits.
Some face an inability to fall asleep quickly; others toss and turn through the night. And more still wake too early and find it difficult to find sleep again, if at all.
Most people experience one if not all of these at some point. The unlucky ones among us have chronic sleep issues.
But we need our sleep!
Our bodies and brains are working hard to rest and restore us for the day ahead during our slumber.
Without proper sleep, we can’t concentrate, our immune system suffers, and our moods plummet.
We’re more prone to make mistakes, experience accidents, and get sick.
A lack of sleep can also cause us to eat poorly, snap at others, and make poor decisions about our health, work, and life.
If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, it’s time to make some changes.
Improve Your Sleep with These 12 Tips
You can do many things to get better sleep and the rest you need. Here are several suggestions for improving the quality of your slumber.
You’ll likely need to implement many if not all of these tips, so start from the top and keep adding until you find the combination that works best.
1. Find your body’s rhythm and establish a regular sleep schedule.
Do you know your chronotype? Understanding when your body naturally wants to sleep or be awake is essential to establishing better sleep hygiene so you can obtain adequate rest and, in turn, be more productive when you’re awake.
Having a set time to go to bed and wake up each day, even on weekends and holidays, that aligns with your chronotype will help set you up for improving your sleep routine.
2. Create the right sleep environment.
Keep your bedroom decluttered, and when you sleep, keep it dark, quiet, and cool.
Consider using blackout curtains, an eye mask, and a white noise machine or earplugs to help you sleep soundly.
Don’t skimp on your mattress and bedding. Several companies now allow you to try a mattress out for days or weeks to help ensure your comfort.
Experiment with different pillow sizes or materials to find one that fits you best, and replace it every one to two years for your health and proper support.
One study also found that individuals using a weighted blanket had “significantly better sleep maintenance, a higher daytime activity level, and reduced daytime symptoms of fatigue, depression, and anxiety.”
3. Avoid electronics in the bedroom.
Don’t watch television, work on the computer, or use your phone in bed.
This will help you associate your bed with sleep and rest and avoid the light from screens that can disrupt your sleep cycle.
It will also prevent television and last minute activities on your phone from altering your mood or making your brain active when you need to relax and shut down instead.
Keep electronics out of the bedroom altogether and set a cut-off time for use an hour before sleep.
You might also try blue-light-blocking glasses in the latter half of your day to help reduce some of the harmful effects of screens on your sleep.
4. Stop caffeine and alcohol usage hours before bedtime.
Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours, so it’s best to avoid drinking it after lunch if you want to sleep at night.
While alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt your sleep by causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. It may also prevent you from reaching a night of deep, restful sleep.
Cutting off alcohol consumption at least three hours before bedtime improves your chances of a good night’s rest.
5. Prioritize exercise earlier in the day.
A consistent amount of moderate exercise is ideal for good sleep.
However, avoid working out close to bedtime because the endorphins released during exercise can keep you awake.
If you can only exercise at night, engage in relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation before bed to help you wind down.
Bonus! Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine has several benefits beyond better sleep, including reducing stress, improving moods, promoting overall health and life balance.
6. Eat healthily and avoid large meals before bedtime.
Eating a light evening dinner well before you retire for the night can help you sleep better.
Heavy meals can make you feel uncomfortable when lying down. So keep things light, and avoid foods with lots of sugar, spices, or fat.
Eat a small healthy snack such as yogurt, non-sugary cereal, fruit, or turmeric golden milk if hunger hits you before bed.
And finally, don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day but cut back on fluids a few hours before sleep.
Avoid working or doing any strenuous activities right before retiring to your bedroom. Give yourself time to relax before going to bed.
A hot bath or shower, reading, journaling, or listening to calm music can help ready you for sleep.
8. Brain Dump
Before heading to your room for the night, check in with yourself to notice, name, and note down anything that may keep you up at night.
This includes any to-do items, worries, concerns, or stressors.
Writing these down helps you release them before sleep, knowing you won’t forget them overnight.
Once things are written down you’re also better able to visually see that those things that worry you are not as all-consuming as they may feel in the moment.
Taking time to consider some possible solutions for each worry and jotting those down can also help ease your mind and provide a sense of control over the situation.
9. Limit or avoid napping.
Naps can interfere with sleep during the night. If you’ve been napping, try to eliminate daytime sleeping. Limit yourself to no more than a 30-minute siesta when you must rest.
10. Say no to nicotine.
Nicotine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. In addition, smokers who wake up during the night to smoke disrupt their sleep further.
11. Beef up your sense of security.
When we don’t feel safe and secure, sleep can be elusive.
Taking measures to improve the security around your home, i.e., installing deadbolts, window locks, alarm systems, cameras, etc., or obtaining a pet can help you feel safer.
12. Seek professional help.
If you try these tips and still can’t sleep, talk to your doctor or a therapist. You may have a sleep disorder that requires treatment.
Or you may need to work on your mental health with a professional.
Those who fear sleep itself may struggle with nightmares and reduced total sleep time. One study suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy may help reduce fear and alleviate insomnia.
Sleeping better can be vital to your overall health and well-being. It’s time for restful nights and sweet dreams.
Try these tips to improve your rest time between the sheets and say goodbye to sleepless nights.
Do you have any other tips for better sleep? Let us know in the comments!