Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
1. Set a strict sleeping schedule.
Pick the same time every day to go to bed and wake up. Don’t oversleep, even on weekends. You will set a routine for your body and brain, improving your sleep-wake cycle. You fall asleep sooner, sleep more soundly, and wake up feeling better rested.
2. Exercise, and adjust when you do it.
Exercise raises your body temperature, blood pressure, and stimulates your heart, brain and muscles. This is great for your body, but not so great for sleep. Aim to finish any vigorous exercise three to four hours before you head to bed. If you work out any closer to bedtime, that post-workout burst of energy can keep you tossing and turning.
3. Don’t nap.
Try to avoid naps all together. If you really need to, keep your snooze to a max of 20 minutes. As a rule, avoid taking any sleep eight hours before bedtime. While naps may give you an extra boost to help you carry on with your day, they can give you enough energy to last for 10 hours before feeling the need to catch some zzz’s.
4. Ban electronics an hour before bed.
The soft blue glow produced by your phone, TV, computer, even your digital clock produces shorter waves of light that can interfere with your sleep cycle. Light, and specifically blue light, limits the production of melatonin in your body, meaning you get less of the hormone that helps you feel sleepy.
5. Avoid heavy foods and big meals later in the day.
Consuming a large quantity of food before bed taxes the digestive system, making it hard to sleep. If you feel the need to eat, keep your snack light and be sure to finish it at least one hour before bed.
6. Get new pillows.
Pillows that are too flat or too fluffy strain your neck. Use pillows that keep your neck at a neutral position and you will fall asleep easier and ward off any stiffness when you wake up.
7. Call it quits with caffeine.
Okay, only after noon. Watch out other sneaky ways caffeine can get into your system, such as chocolate. Keep an eye on labels to watch out for what products contain caffeine.
8. Avoid alcohol.
Caffeine isn’t the only drink to banish before bed. Even though alcohol may help you feel sleepy, the initial effects wear off, leaving you wide-awake in the middle of the night. A better alternative is warm milk. The amino acids and calcium found in dairy releases serotonins, which can help you relax.
Comment below and let us know what you do to get a better night’s sleep.
Danskin, David. How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Kansas State University Counseling Services. June 17, 2014. http://www.k-state.edu/
Sisson, Mark. How Light Affects Our Sleep. Mark’s Daily Apple. June 17, 2014.http://www.marksdailyapple.
Wooten, Virgil. How to Fall Asleep. How Stuff Works. June 17, 2014. http://health.howstuffworks.
Web MD. The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep. June 17, 2014. www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/