The quality of sleep you get each night greatly effects the sort of day you will have. A rough night of sleep will lead to lots of caffeine and/or power naps, muddled thoughts, and an overall tired feeling mentally and physically and in some a loss of emotional control (such as a quickness to anger).
It is generally believed that 7-9 hours of sleep are ideal for adults. But, laying in bed for 7 hours is very different than getting 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Things to do to get better sleep:
Below are a few tips you should follow to make your time in bed more effective. Better sleep will help you be more productive, feel more emotionally balanced, and you will be mentally sharp. All things that I am sure you could benefit from.
1. Follow a sleep schedule
The body and mind crave routine. If you suffer from troubled sleep or if you have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder you should set a sleep schedule.
Choose a time that you will wake up, subtract your desired time in bed, and you have your bed time.
Follow this schedule religiously.
That means adhering to the schedule on the weekends and on holiday. This also means that you will not want to turn in before your set bed time. Deviate from your sleep schedule as little as possible.
2. Observe and evaluate your food and drinking habits
- Avoid going to bed over full or hungry to avoid discomfort.
- Avoid consuming heavy and rich foods at night.
- Avoid fatty foods that may burden the stomach during digestion close to your bed time.
- If you suffer from heartburn, pay attention to spicy and acidic foods. Eat them far before you turn in for the night, or avoid them altogether.
- Limit your liquid intake before bed time to avoid nightly toilet trips.
- Cut caffeine at least 8 hours before your bed time.
- Limit the intake of alcohol and nicotine after 6pm
3. Set bed time rituals
Bed time rituals are a good way of mentally triggering the sleep state in your mind. Train your mind to associate changing into sleeping attire or brushing your teeth with bed time.
Get ready at least 20 minutes before bed time and follow the same ritual every night. This is not the time to play with electronic devices or sitting at the television as the bright light from these devices will produce the opposite effect on your body.
4. Create a comfortable environment
Make your bedroom and your bed the best environment for sleep. This includes removing or blocking light emitting devices to create the darkest environment you can. Regulate the temperature in your room.
If you have a furry friend that runs in his sleep it is time to move him to his own bed.
If there are circumstances that are out of your control you may want to invest in a good set of ear plugs or a good sleeping mask. A great investment is finding the right pillow and mattress for your sleeping style, and find bedding that you are comfortable to lay in.
5. Avoid naps
If you suffer from insomnia you should limit your naps as it seriously compromises the quality of sleep at night. If your insomnia requires you to nap in order to stay productive, limit your naps to 30 minutes or less.
6. Adapt a more active lifestyle
Engage in regular daily physical activity to maintain quality sleep at night. Physical activity creates physical and mental exhaustion which promotes restful sleep. Exercise also optimizes the circulation of blood through the body aiding in detoxification.
Other benefit of regular exercise include:
- Amplification of body temperature (post-exercise drop in body temperature promotes falling asleep)
- Regulation of endocrine hormones (more efficient organ and body usage)
- Elevation of basal metabolic rate (burn more calories at rest)
Exercise before bed time may aid in sleep quality and the time it takes for you to fall asleep. Especially if you wear yourself out so much that you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. Though, some people will get a surge of energy from exercise, if this is you, avoid exercising before bed time.
7. Find ways to manage stress
People who are under severe mental or physical stress frequently suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. If you are under stress it is important that you find ways to restore peace in your life.
Some tips for managing stress include:
- Allowing yourself to take breaks
- Engage in productive conversation with friends
- Adapt daily organization techniques such as planning your day the night before
- Adapt a relaxation technique such as Yoga, Martial arts, Meditation, Progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization. Practice these techniques often to reduce your stress levels.
Following one or all of these natural sleeping tips may help you achieve a more restful sleep, if you find yourself following all of these tips and you are still struggling to sleep well contact your primary care provider to identify care issues and optimal treatment solutions.