Whether staying up late to meet a deadline, trying to earn extra money, or tossing and turning due to stress or anxiety, losing sleep is far too common. However, sleep is vital to our mental, emotional and physical health and so it is important to make sleep a priority.
If you struggle to get the recommended seven to eight hours of good quality sleep a night, check these 7 tips for better sleep.
Tips for Better Sleep
Watch What you Eat and Drink
The substances and chemicals you put in your mouth, particularly in the hours before you go to bed greatly impact on your sleep. Eating a large meal not long before you go to bed can keep you awake and stop you from falling asleep.
Equally, caffeine and nicotine, as stimulants, can also stop you from falling asleep and so should be avoided in the hours before bedtime. Alcohol, too, is not good to drink before you go to bed as it can wake you up later in the night, disrupting your sleep patterns.
Physical activity and exercise is closely linked to our sleep patterns. Exercise helps us to fall asleep faster and to sleep more soundly once we are asleep. This is because exercise encourages the body to produce cortisol, the hormone that activates and then calms the brain.
However, exercising just before you go to bed may make it difficult to get to sleep, so be sure to do your exercise earlier in the day. As exercise contributes to your healthy skin, along with better physics.
Address Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can play absolute havoc with our sleep, causing us to lie awake tossing and turning. Addressing these by digging into the root causes of stress and anxiety is essential if you want to get decent sleep every night.
Erase your stress and anxiety with meditation, relaxation or yoga. Practicing even a short amount of these techniques, at any time but particularly in the evening can be very helpful in getting quality sleep. If your anxiety persists, it is a good idea to talk to a medical professional.
Set a Schedule
Routine is key to achieving better sleep. Set aside the required amount of time (seven to eight hours) to sleep every night. Furthermore, it is important that this sleep is at the same time each day: this consistency will reinforce your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
If you go to bed and get up at different times every day this plays havoc with your internal clock. It is, therefore a bad idea to stay up late and sleep in on weekends, and then try to get up early during the week. A regular schedule will help to ensure good-quality sleep every night.
Also Read: 12 Time Management Tips For Students
As part of setting a healthy sleep schedule, you need to eliminate napping. It is easy to fall into a vicious cycle of having a poor night’s sleep and then compensating with a nap, only to not be tired in the evening and so not sleeping well. Day sleep for a while, later can result in trouble sleeping at night.
Rather, ditch the naps and only sleep at night, in a solid block or seven to eight hours. If you really kind avoid a nap, keep it early as possible, and as short as possible. Take your nap absolutely no later than 5pm so that you’ll be able to sleep at bedtime.
Consider your Sleep Environment
The environment you sleep in has a big impact on your sleep. You need a spot which is dark, cool, and free from noise. If your bedroom is not naturally like this there are a few things you can do to make it this way. If you are affected by background noise, get some earplugs or a white noise machine.
Invest in blackout curtains or heavy shades if you are affected by light, and keep the temperature ideal through a fan or air conditioning. Also make sure you have a comfortable, supportive mattress and comfortable pillows. A little investment in this area will well and truly pay off in the long term.
Also Read: A Comprehensive Guide to Mattress Sizes
Get up if you Can’t Sleep
If you find yourself staring at your bedroom ceiling rather than falling asleep, lying there willing yourself to drop off is the worst thing you can do. Rather, it is better to get out of bed for a while to read a book until you feel sleepy, and then go back to bed.