Exercising sleep hygiene might seem like an impossible task at the moment, but it’s vital if you want to find a way to get enough sleep in today’s 24/7 “on” world. So, here are 7 tips to help you sleep better each night:
1. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and all other drugs that can interfere with your sleep.
Caffeinated beverages have a documented negative impact on the quality of a person’s sleep. As all coffee addicts know, caffeine is a potent stimulant that can keep you alert for hours. So, avoid all foods, drinks, and medications that contain caffeine, including tea, coffee, cola, chocolate, and some painkillers, for at least four hours before your bedtime, but ideally six hours. Similarly, smokers need to refrain from all nicotine-rich tobacco products in the closing hours of the day.
While alcohol can help some people to initially fall asleep, after a few hours in the system, the drug starts to act like a stimulant and reduces the quality of a person’s sleep. Consequently, it’s best to restrict your alcohol consumption as much as possible and try to stop drinking three hours before bedtime.
2. Transform your bedroom into a sleep-enticing space.
A dark, cool, quiet environment will help to promote a deep sleep. Why do you imagine bats congregate in dark, cool caves for their daytime twenty winks? To create a similar environment in your bedroom, you can reduce noise levels by using earplugs or investing in a “white noise” machine. Furthermore, you can use heavy curtains, eye masks or blackout blinds to reduce light levels — any light sends a signal to your brain that its time to get up. Keeping the temperature in your room at a comfortably cool level is also important for a good night’s sleep as is good ventilation. In addition, don’t forget to equip your bedroom with a comfy mattress and supportive pillows — keep in mind that even the best mattresses need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years of use. Invest in a new Sleep Number mattress today.
If you have any pets that come alive at night, such as hamsters, you might want to ensure their cages are kept in a different room.
Ideally, you want to limit activities in your bedroom to sleep and intimacy only. Keep TVs, computer screens, smartphones and work documents outside the room to strengthen the association in your mind between sleeping and your bedroom.
3. Make a soothing pre-sleep routine a daily habit.
Some light reading before bed can help to get your ready for sleep.
To ease your transition from waking hours to sleeping hours, practice relaxing activities before bed. For example, take a hot bath, watch TV, read a book, listen to a guided meditation track, etc. Avoid all stressful or stimulating activities, such as discussing emotional problems or work-related stuff. Physically stressful activities can also promote cortisol production in your body, which a stress hormone that increases alertness. Instead of taking your problems to bed with you, write them down and put them to the side.
4. Don’t get into bed until your tired.
Struggling to get to sleep can be very frustrating. If your eyes don’t close within 20 minutes of getting into bed, get back up and do something to promote relaxation in a different room until you feel tired enough to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
5. Stop yourself from becoming a clock-watcher.
Constantly monitoring the clock while you’re trying to get to sleep or during times you awaken in the night can induce stress, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Arrange the clocks in your bedroom so you can’t see them without getting out of bed.
If you wake up during the night and are unable to get back to sleep within a 20-minute window, get up and do something relaxing. Make sure you keep the lighting low, as bright light will only stimulate your internal body clock. As your eyelids start drooping, make your way bad to bed.
6. Make light your friend.
Natural light works to keep your body’s internal clock on a healthy sleep cycle. So, be sure to let natural light flood into your bedroom or office during the day.
7. Stick to a consistent schedule.
Adhering to a regular sleeping schedules helps to promote a better quality of sleep. By going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning, you can reset your body’s internal clock. Avoid breaking your routine at the weekends, as doing so will make it more difficult for you to get quality sleep during the week.