Sleep troubles seem to be a common challenge for many people. Think of all the factors that could interfere with your sleep –from family responsibilities to pressures from work, unexpected challenges like sickness or aging, and environmental factors like extreme temperatures, just to mention a few. While getting insufficient sleep once in a while will only lower your concentration levels during the day, continuous sleep deprivation can be harmful to your overall health. Here are a few tips to help you sleep better at night:
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. After a while, your body will automatically know when it’s time to retire to bed, allowing you to fall asleep much faster. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep and choose a bedtime when you normally feel tired. If you can’t fall asleep immediately, get out of the bed and do something relaxing to avoid being anxious about not being able to sleep.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Your eating habits before bedtime pay a huge role in how well you sleep. Feeling hungry or stuffed before bed will only cause discomfort and keep you awake longer. Spicy or acidic foods will cause heartburn, which is also uncomfortable. Caffeine and nicotine have stimulating effects that can last for hours, so avoid consuming them late in the day. You should also avoid drinking too many fluids 2 hours before bed to reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom. Going back to sleep might prove difficult.
Improve Your Sleep Environment
Small changes to your sleep environment will go a long way towards improving your sleep quality. The ideal sleeping environment differs from one individual to another; even so, try keeping your bedroom quiet, dark, cool, and clean. The bedroom should only be used for sleep and intimacy; as such, anything causing a distraction should be removed. This includes electronics, clutter, work materials, etc. If you’re waking up feeling tired and with an aching neck or a stiff back, you may need to replace your mattress. The market is filled with the best mattresses for every kind of sleeper.
Avoid Long or Irregular Daytime Naps
Taking a power nap can be a great way to make up for lost sleep and even restore your mental wellness. This should, however, be limited to 20 minutes or less. Napping longer than that or in the late afternoon will leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day. Taking irregular naps can also confuse your internal clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night.
Strong emotional feelings of stress, anger, anxiety, and worry from your day can make it difficult to sleep well at night. The first step to freeing your mind is to put aside any work and avoid touchy discussions or making complicated decisions before bedtime. You can also benefit from relaxing activities such as reading a book, meditating, listening to relaxing music, a relaxing massage, deep breathing, or taking a hot bath.