Getting enough good quality sleep couldn’t be more important for your physical and mental health, and yet too many of us are still failing to get sufficient rest at night. Your weight, emotional balance and productivity can all be badly affected by insufficient sleep so what is the solution if you’re struggling to drop off or stay asleep at night?
Match Your Sleep-Wake Natural Cycle
You need to find a way to get in sync with your own body’s circadian rhythms or natural sleeping/waking cycle. Keeping to a regular schedule will help you to feel energized and refreshed when compared to sleeping the same amount of time but at different times of the day. Try to manage the same time every day while going to bed and getting up to avoid having a lie in, even at the weekend. Although napping may make up for all that lost sleep, if you spend too much time napping, you’ll never sleep well at night. Limit any naps to just 20 minutes and never nap any later than the early afternoon. If you’re tired before bedtime, go and do an activity that stops you from feeling tired. Call a friend, wash the dishes or get your clothes ready for tomorrow. Don’t give in to the drowsiness or you’ll end up waking up in the middle of the night and find difficult to return to sleep.
Control Your Light Exposure
The human body produces melatonin to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Whenever it’s dark, the brain secretes a larger amount of this hormone and this promotes sleepiness. Use this to your advantage by exposing yourself to sunlight during the morning to help you feel more awake and spend as much time as possible outdoors during the day. Try to make your workspace or home as light as possible during the daytime and use a light therapy box during the winter. During the night, avoid using a bright screen within an hour of your bedtime, avoiding watching TV late at night and never read with a backlit device. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible with heavy shades or use a sleeping mask.
Take More Exercise
Those people who regularly exercise find they sleep better during the night. Exercise is known to improve insomnia and increase the length of time spent in restorative sleep. Add some physical activity into your day to experience the benefits.
Eating And Drinking Wisely
Limit the amount of nicotine and caffeine you consume and avoid eating large meals late at night. Make your dinner at an early hour in the evening and don’t eat any rich, heavy, acidic or spicy foods before bed. Avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed and don’t drink too much during the evening as going to the bathroom frequently in the night will wreak havoc with your sleep cycle. Also, avoid eating refined carbs and sugary foods since these can also make you more awake.
Before going to bed, it may be helpful to practice relaxation techniques that clear your head and prepare you for rest. Practice deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to promote your well-being ready for sleep.
Have A Positive Sleep Environment
Making your bedroom pleasant and welcoming as possible will help you feel ready to go to bed. A comfortable mattress and comforter, cozy pillows and an attractive, uncluttered environment will work wonders for your sleep patterns. If you’re struggling to sleep because of sleep apnea, a CPAP machine will help you to have a better sleep through the night without the potentially dangerous constant waking to breathe.
Learn How To Sleep
Waking briefly in the night is normal, but if you’re struggling to return to sleep afterwards, here are some tips to try.
Instead of working hard to sleep, focus on relaxing instead. Meditation will help you to drop back off. Alternatively, do something quiet and non-stimulating such as reading with no screens involved. Don’t brainstorm or worry – this will just stop you from getting back to sleep.
Follow these top tips and you’ll find that you can enjoy a more peaceful rest and a better quality of sleep every time you go to bed. You’ll feel much better!