When you’re up at 3 a.m., falling asleep may seem like an unlikely dream, but good sleep is more within your control than you would expect. Good sleeping patterns can mean the difference between restless sleep and a restful night’s sleep.
Researchers have described several behaviors and activities known as “sleep hygiene” that can help anybody, including those with insomnia, jet lag, or shift work, get the most out of their sleep.
Sleep hygiene can seem unimaginative, but it may be the most effective way to get the rest you require in this 24/7 world. Here are a few easy ways to get the sleep of your dreams every night:
Consider all of the factors that can prevent you, including getting a good night’s sleep, from job stress and family obligations to unforeseen problems, including illness. It’s no surprise that getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult. Although you might not regulate the factors that disrupt your sleep, you may develop behaviors that will help you sleep better.
Begin with these straightforward suggestions.
Maintain a regular sleep routine
Allow for a maximum of eight hours of sleep. A healthy adult should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. To accomplish this goal, most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed.
Every day, go to bed and wake up at the same time. On weeknights and weekends, try to keep the time difference between your sleep schedules to no more than one hour. Consistency helps to maintain the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Leave your bedroom and do something soothing if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes. Relax by reading or listening to calming music. When you’re tired, go back to bed. As required, repeat the process.
Keep track of what you eat and drink.
Make sure you’re not hungry or stuffed before going to bed. Stop eating something heavy or oversized within a couple of hours of going to bed. It’s possible that your pain would keep you awake.
Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol can all be avoided. Nicotine and caffeine’s calming effects take hours to wear off and may disrupt sleep quality. Even if alcohol makes you sleepy at first, it can disturb sleep later in the night.
Create a relaxing atmosphere.
Make a sleeping-friendly setting. This usually entails something calm, dark, and quiet. It could be more challenging to fall asleep if you are exposed to light. Before going to bed, avoid using light-emitting screens for an extended period. To build an atmosphere that fits your needs, consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, fans, or other gadgets.
Before bedtime, try relaxing things like taking a bath or using relaxation methods to help you sleep better. Sound slumber can be aided by a calm, dark, and cool climate. Why do you think bats like to sleep in caves during the day? Reduce the amount of outside noise with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance to create this condition.
Blocking light with thick curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask is a solid signal to the brain that it’s time to wake up. Keep the room cool (between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and well ventilated. Also, make sure you have a good mattress and pillows in your bedroom. (Keep in mind that most mattresses last about ten years.)
Create a Relaxing Pre-Sleep Routine
Before bed, light reading is an excellent way to get ready for sleep. Allow an hour or so before bedtime to relax and ease the transition from wake time to sleep time. Take a bath, read a book, watch TV, or do relaxation exercises (the rise and fall of body temperature promote drowsiness).
Job, debating interpersonal problems, and other intense, stimulating behaviors should be avoided. Stressful physical and psychological behaviors may cause the body to secrete cortisol, a stress hormone linked to increased alertness. If you have a habit of bringing your problems to bed with you, consider writing them down and then setting them aside.
Go to Sleep When You’re Very Exhausted
Having trouble falling asleep adds to the annoyance. If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to a different room, and do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to music, until you are tired enough to sleep.
Don’t Keep an Eye on the Clock at Night
Staring at a clock in your bedroom, whether to fall asleep or to wake up in the middle of the night, will potentially raise tension and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Turn the face of your clock away from you.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep in 20 minutes, get up and do something quiet and relaxing like reading or listening to music. Also, keep the lights dim; bright light will cause your internal clock to be stimulated. Return to bed when your eyelids are drooping and you’re ready to sleep.
Avoid Afternoon Naps
Many people have naps in their daily routine. However, for those who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep all night, afternoon naps may be one of the causes. This is because late-day naps reduce sleep drive. If you must sleep, do so before 5 p.m. and keep it short.
Exercising early is beneficial
If you exercise several hours before going to bed, it will help you get a good night’s sleep. Exercise, when done at the right time, will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better. Exercise causes the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which aids in activating the brain’s alerting mechanism. If you’re trying to fall asleep, everything is excellent. Exercising at least three hours before bedtime, or working out early in the day, is a good idea.
Some of these suggestions would be easier to incorporate into your day-to-day and evening routines than others. If you stick to them, your chances of getting a good night’s sleep will increase. Nearly everybody has a sleepless night now and then, so if you’re having trouble sleeping regularly, see your doctor. You will get the better sleep you deserve by identifying and addressing any underlying causes.