In a bad mood lately? Or simply worn out? Are you getting the right amount of sleep?
There are many factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep – from pressure at work and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, such as layoffs, relationship issues, or illnesses. It’s no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes unattainable.
Although you can’t control all the factors in like that could interfere with your sleep, you can adopt certain habits to encourage better sleep. Start with these 7 simple sleep tips…
1. Stick with a sleep schedule
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, days off, and holidays. Having a consistent sleep schedule reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep during the night. If you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you worry over falling asleep at a certain time, you may find it even harder to nod off.
2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Don’t go to bed starving or really full. Your discomfort might keep you awake. Also limit the amount of liquids you drink before bed, to prevent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Smoking, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol deserve caution as well. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and may tamper with the quality of your sleep. And even though alcohol may make you feel tired at first, it can interfere with sleep later in the night.
3. Create a bedtime routine
Do the same things every night to let your body know that it’s time for bed. Whether that’s taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Relaxing activities can help promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness.
Try not to use any TV or electronic devices as a part of your bedtime routine. Some research suggests that screen time before bed interferes with sleep quality.
4. Get comfortable
Create a room that’s perfect for sleeping. Ideally, the room should be cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades or curtains, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Your mattress and pillow can be a factor, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share a bed, make sure that there’s ample room for the two of you. If you have kids or pets, try to set limits on how often they can sleep with you.
5. Limit daytime naps
Daytime naps can tamper with your sleep during the night – especially if you’re battling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 – 30 minutes and do so in the afternoon.
If you work nights, you’re an exception to this rule. In your case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight – which adjusts your internal clock – doesn’t disrupt your daytime sleep.
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep habits, helping you to fall asleep fast and enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is key though. If you exercise too close to your bedtime, you might be too energized to sleep. If this tends to be an issue for you, try to exercise earlier in the day.
7. Manage stress
When you have a lot on your plate and a lot to think about, your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace, consider stress management techniques. Start small, such as getting organized, setting priorities and assigning tasks to others. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Catch up with an old friend. Before bed, write down all that’s on your mind and set it aside for tomorrow.
Know When to Contact your Doctor
Nearly everyone has an occasional spell of sleepless nights, but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the sleep that you deserve.