It’s so easy to take sleep for granted. That is, until you don’t get enough.
We rarely think about it, because what is there to think about? To our conscious mind, sleep is just a gap. One second you’re lying down, and the next it’s morning.
But if you’re not sleeping right, the consequences can be pretty devastating: Weight gain, lack of energy, continual grogginess, and the list goes on.
Sleep is when your body and mind repair and rejuvenate. To make the most of your waking hours, you need to make sure that you’re getting enough rest. If your sleep isn’t everything that it could be, then use these ten tips to get it back on track.
1. Be consistent
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day makes a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. In fact, making this change alone has been enough to correct problems for people who have trouble falling and staying asleep.
When you let your body fall into a pattern, it responds by knowing when it is time to sleep. give your sleep consistency to avoid fighting your own system.
2. Get some exercise
It’s a simple concept: In order to be tired, you need to be a little… tired.
When we don't give our bodies something to recover from, sleep becomes more difficult. Getting out there and moving around will make your pillow feel that much softer.
3. Avoid caffeine
If you’re one of the millions (billions?) of people who rely on that cup of coffee to get them going in the morning, you already know that caffeine is a powerful stimulant.
So why would you consume coffee or soda that contains caffeine before you go to bed? Even if you think that you’ve grown resistant to the effects of caffeine, ingesting stimulants close to bedtime is not a great idea.
4. Don’t hit the snooze
I know, I know, nothing feels as good as shutting up that alarm without having to pull off the covers. But you’re doing more harm than good.
The snooze cycle lasts 5 to 10 minutes, which is not enough time for you to re-enter a truly restful sleep stage. Train yourself to get up with the first alarm, and add the snooze period to the real thing.
5. Don’t hang out in bed
Sure it’s comfortable; that’s the point. But don’t spend too much time in your bed while you’re awake. In fact, you should only really use your bed for sleeping and sex.
If you watch television or read in the bed, then you train your brain that the bed doesn’t necessarily mean sleep. That can lead to tossing and turning. No good.
6. Avoid naps
The temptation can be great to take a little siesta, and there are actually studies out there that suggest incorporating a nap into your regular sleep pattern could provide some benefit.
But most people aren’t able to schedule their days around a consistent short nap. For better rest at night, avoid them altogether.
7. Be aware of light exposure
Our bodies are designed to be sensitive to light. For most of human history light (or the lack thereof) was the primary indication of when it was bedtime.
In our modern world, we are in control of how much light surrounds us, even in the dead of night. Do your system a favor, and start to bring the lights down at least an hour before bed. The dimming environment will serve as a cue to your brain that the day is winding down.
8. Don’t be afraid of the boogeyman
You should keep your bedroom as dark as possible. The absence of light improves the quality of your sleep.
If you get up during the night, keep everything as dark as possible during your trip to the restroom, to help you fall back asleep quickly.
9. Avoid television before bed
People often us television as a way to unwind from the day. And for the most part that isn’t a bad thing. While watching television, your mind can take a bit of a break, and just absorb.
But television immediately before bed can be counterproductive. Television programs and commercials are designed to be stimulating in order to attract viewers and keep people entertained.
A less energetic form of relaxation such as reading is preferable.
10. Time dinner right
Nobody likes to go to bed hungry, but falling asleep on a full stomach presents its own problems.
It takes a lot of energy for your stomach to digest a full meal. Make sure that your digestive process is not fully amped up when it’s time to rest by making sure to avoid eating heavily before bed. Give your system a few hours to start the digestive process before trying to fall asleep.
If you struggle with sleep, put these ten tips to the test. We’re betting that these simple changes will make a world of difference!
We'd love to hear from you! What tricks have you used to sleep better? Share in the comments below.