Sleeping is important for your body, since it allows your body to heal as you rest. Unfortunately, many people have problems getting enough sleep. Whether you suffer from insomnia or just don’t sleep well, here are some good night’s sleep tips that will improve your sleep habits.
A. When You Have Insomnia
Insomnia sufferers often have trouble falling asleep at night. They may lay awake for hours, thinking of the things they must do the next day, worrying over situations they can’t control, or simply unable to fall asleep. However, there are many things you can do that will help insomnia.
#1. Turn Off Your Gadgets
At least one hour before bed each night, turn off all your electronics. The bright screens and flashing lights only stimulate your brain when it should really be shutting down for sleep. Don’t watch TV or surf the internet right before bed. Instead, read a book or have a little chat with your spouse or roommate.
#2. Take a Relaxing Bath
A long, warm bath can do wonders for your sleep. Add lavender or Epsom salts to your bath to calm your muscles and relax your mind. You can even turn the lights off or close your eyes as you soak to help your brain shut down.
#3. Practice Gentle Stretches
A little yoga can help your body prepare for rest. Don’t do any cardio or fast exercise before bed; this will wake your body up. But some basic stretching will help you unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
#4. Avoid Caffeine
If insomnia is a frequent problem, try cutting out caffeine. Though it’s especially important to avoid caffeine in the evening, you should really cut it out completely for best results. Though you may not think it’s causing problems, caffeine is a stimulant, and repetitive use can cause addictive symptoms. Insomnia may simply be one of the side effects of your coffee habit.
#5. Plan Your Day
Many people lay awake thinking of the many tasks they need to accomplish the next day. To avoid this, take a few minutes to write down a “To Do” list and plan out your day. Write down any notes you may have, as well. Sometimes it’s easy to dwell on the things you don’t want to forget. Writing them down will give you peace of mind and enable you to sleep.
#6. Try This Exercise
If you still have trouble falling asleep after trying these preparative tips, try practising this exercise as you lay in bed with your eyes closed. First, flex the muscles in your feet and hold the pose for five seconds, then release. Next, move to your calves, practising the same exercise. Continue all the way up your body, flexing every muscle for a few seconds before releasing. When you’re done, your body will be relaxed and your mind clear for rest.
B. Poor Sleep Quality
If you have no problem falling asleep but still wake up tired, you may have a sleep disorder. Before you head to the doctor, though, make sure these common culprits aren’t disrupting your sleep.
#7. Your Spouse or Bed Partner
If you share a bed with a spouse or bed partner, their sleep habits may be waking you up at night. Some common complaints are “hogging” the bed, snoring, and cuddling. If you’re dealing with a bed “hog” or cuddler, make a barrier out of pillows between the two of you before you fall asleep. Someone who snores may have sleep apnea, a fairly common sleep disorder. A CPAP machine is usually the treatment for this. Otherwise, there are many over-the-counter treatments for this condition that are inexpensive and effective.
#8. Your Pets
No matter how much you love your pets, they should never be allowed in the bedroom when you’re sleeping. Dogs and cats are notorious sleep disruptive. Though you may not realise it, they are likely waking you up slightly many times each night. If you suffer from clogged nasal passages at night, you should kick the pets out of your bedroom for good. Your sinus problems are likely a mild allergic reaction to pet dander and hair. Clean your room thoroughly, keeps the pets out, and the symptoms should disappear.
#9. The Temperature
Though a temperature of about 70 is ideal for the daytime, good sleep happens at a lower temperature. Set your thermostat between 65 and 68 for better sleep each night. The cool air will help you rest properly throughout the night. Also, make sure that your mattress remains cool with the proper bed foundation. There are many types of foundations so do your research!
If you tend to worry throughout the day, your mind is likely having a hard time shutting down at night, too. This usually results in insomnia, but sometimes it causes poor sleep instead. If you suffer from constant nagging thoughts or overwhelming emotions, talk to your doctor about ways to solve the problem.
C. A Weird Sleep Schedule
A natural circadian rhythm help our bodies know when to sleep and when to wake. Unfortunately, it’s easy for these rhythms to become disrupted. If you fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning and sleep until early afternoon, it’s very likely that your circadian rhythm is disrupted. You can reset it, however, and enjoy a normal sleep schedule again.
#11. Go to Bed a Little Earlier Each Night
Don’t try to jump from a 2 a.m. bedtime to an 11 p.m. one. This almost never works. Instead, move your bedtime up by just 15 to 30 minutes each evening. For example, the first night you might go to bed at 1:30 instead of 2. The next night, you might move it back to 1:15 or 1:00. Eventually, you can begin falling asleep at a normal time each night.
#12. Get Plenty of Sunshine
Sunshine and Vitamin D are important parts of the circadian rhythm. If you spend all day indoors, your body will naturally become confused by the lack of sunlight. To combat this problem, make sure you spend as much time outside as possible.
#13. Make Your Bedroom Dark
Your body also needs complete darkness at bedtime. Otherwise, the light makes your brain think it’s time to be awake. Shut off all lights in your bedroom, and install curtains over your windows. Even small, digital alarm clocks can cause problems, so make sure the room is as dark as possible.
#14. Eat Regular Meals
Your eating habits also affect your circadian rhythm. Make sure you eat a good breakfast each morning, lunch around noon, and dinner a few hours before your optimum bedtime. This will help reset your internal clock.
Adequate rest is the best thing you can do for your health. If you’re not getting the sleep you need and nothing seems to help, it’s time to see your doctor for a proper sleep study. You may have an underlying condition that is affecting your sleep habits. Oftentimes, a simple prescription or some small changes can have a tremendous effect on your quality of sleep.