Sometimes you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone. While this phrase could apply to many things in life, in this case we’re talking about precious sleep. If you’ve had years of sleeping soundly to suddenly be confronted with sleep issues, you probably think fondly on those days and wish you could have them back.
There are so many reasons why your sleep could be disrupted. From a new baby in the house or stress to a break up or medical condition, people experience disruptions to their sleep for any number of reasons.
Sleep is so vital that it could seriously impact your appetite, your ability to show up for your family and friends and your energy throughout the day. If you are having sleep concerns, the first thing to do is contact your doctor to evaluate the issue and see if there’s a medical concern related to your sleeplessness.
In the meantime, there are plenty of things you can do to help improve your chances for better sleep. By following the tips below, you can put yourself in the best position to get a good night’s sleep so you can be the best you in the morning.
6 Tips for Better Sleep
Create a schedule and stick to it.
Your body likes routine. When you can get your body used to doing something at the same time every day, it becomes a habit that your body looks forward to. The same applies to sleep. Try to identify a time that you can consistently wake up and go to sleep every day, even on your days off. This can be a challenge, especially for people with kids or unusual work schedules, but it is a critical piece of getting good sleep. By creating a sleep schedule for yourself, you are regulating your internal clock and helping your body anticipate when it’s time to rest.
Create a nighttime routine.
Just like creating a sleep schedule, creating a nighttime routine helps to get your body and your mind ready for sleep. It allows you to slow down and unwind from the craziness of the day. The slowness that you create helps make falling to sleep much easier.
The routine does not have to be complex. In fact, it can be quite simple and short. Whatever you choose to add to your routine, be sure to avoid technology, bright lights and loud noises. These things can actually keep you awake longer and produce feelings of anxiety. Some people find taking a bath, lighting a candle, listening to relaxing music, reading a book or meditation can be great additions to their nighttime routines.
Skip the naps.
If you sleep poorly at night, you are probably tempted to take a power nap during the day. While this may help in the short term, napping too much or too long can negatively impact your nighttime sleep. Do your best to avoid naps. Instead, try to stay awake by taking a walk or doing some other activity. By skipping naps, and moving your bedtime to an earlier time, you may get the sleep you need at an appropriate time.
Evaluate your sleeping conditions.
Another reason many people struggle to sleep is that they are not setting themselves up for success. Is your mattress lumpy or to firm? Is there too much light or noise coming from outside? Is it too cold or too warm in your room?
Take some time to evaluate your sleep conditions and see where you can make adjustments. If you tend to wake up sweating in the night, consider changing up your sheets or blankets or adding a fan. If there is too much noise coming from the street, get a white noise machine.
Limit stimulants during the day.
We get it. When you haven’t gotten much sleep, the first thing you want to do is reach for that coffee in the morning. And then again in the middle of the morning and again in the afternoon and so on, until you’re so wired that you just can’t sleep at night. Try your best to limit caffeine during the day or to cease all caffeine intake by midday. Along the same lines, avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol has been shown to cause sleepless or restless evenings and prevent you from getting solid sleep at night.
The benefits of exercise are seemingly endless. While it might not seem like it, exercise can actually help you sleep better at night. Try to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Try to do your exercise in the mornings. If this is not possible, avoid intense activity within two hours of bedtime.