Making some simple changes to your daily routine and bedtime habits can have a huge impact on your quality of sleep. This will help you feel increasingly mentally sharp, full of energy, and even emotionally balanced throughout the day but it is important that you realize just how much control you have over the quality of sleep that you get. By experimenting with these steps, you will likely be able to find what works best for you, allowing you to enjoy better sleep and improve your overall health.
Understand your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. 1. Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
Setting your body's internal clock will help you get the most out of your sleep. The key to doing this is to choose a bedtime that feels right for you, and then stick with it. Eventually, your body will get used to this schedule, and you will be able to fall asleep easily at the same time every night.
Likewise, if you wake up at the same time each morning, your body will also get used to this. Eventually, you will not need an alarm clock to wake up because your body will be ready to get up at the same time every day. 2. Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends.
Many people think the weekends are "meant" for sleeping in. While this may be true after some long nights in college, there is little truth to this sentiment once you are a bit older. The more your sleep schedule differs on the weekends from the weekdays, the more you will feel the effects of it.
If you do stay up much later than normal one night, take a nap the next day instead of sleeping in. This way, you can get back on your normal schedule that night by going to bed on time. 3. Avoid napping, especially if you have trouble falling asleep.
If you stick to your regular sleep schedule, it is best to try to avoid napping during the day. While napping is an effective way to catch up on some sleep, if you can't sleep at night, taking a nap during the day may make it even more difficult to get. If you have to nap, aim for a 20-minute power nap after lunch. 4. Do some light physical activity after meals.
You may tend to feel a bit drowsy after meals and want to just sit down or lie down in front of the television. But here is the thing: If you give in to this fatigue, you are likely to stay lazy for the rest of the day.
Do some light physical activity after eating, whether this is going for a short walk or just cleaning up the dishes. Stay up and move around for a little bit to avoid getting sleepy. 5. Spend more time outside during the day.
Get as much exposure to natural light during your waking hours as you can. Go for a walk during any breaks you take during the day, take your dog to the park, or meet a friend at an outside cafe for a snack. 6. Avoid bright screens (Like Phone and TV) one to two hours before your bedtime.
Screens on your television and computer emit a blue light that disrupts your body's natural production of melatonin. Avoiding looking at screens for two hours prior to bedtime will help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. 7. Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.
If you do need to get up, hopefully the small nightlight will be enough to lead you to where you need to go. Avoid turning on the lights, as they will shock your system into waking up, and you may not be able to get back to sleep. 8. Avoid exercising too close to your bedtime.
Exercising too close to bedtime might give your body too much stimulation and decrease your ability to calm down and fall asleep. Try to finish your exercise at least two hours before you go to bed so you give yourself a chance to relax before trying to go to sleep. 9. Limit caffeine and nicotine.
These stimulants can keep you up at night. Try switching to water or decaf tea after lunch so you won't be jittery in the evenings. If you smoke, try to cut out the habit completely to improve both your sleep and overall health. 10. Avoid big dinners.
Not only can big dinners leave you uncomfortably full, they can also cause you to experience heartburn or acid reflux at night. Eat a light dinner a few hours before bed to avoid feeling the after-effects of your meal when it is time to get some sleep. 11. Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs.
If you tend to eat a lot of sugar and refined carbs, such as candy and white bread, you may experience more sleep arousals. This is because these types of carbohydrates delay the release of melatonin in your body.
If you want to get a better quality of sleep, try cutting back your sugar intake. Skip the dessert after dinner and try to limit your simple carbs during the day. 12. Do some deep breathing.
Doing some deep breathing can help you relax and prepare your body for sleep. Try this breathing exercise before going to bed:
13. Postpone worrying and brainstorming.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
- Repeat this three times.
Worrying all night or thinking about new ideas for work will likely cause you to have anxiety. One thought will lead to the next, and you could spend hours either brainstorming for work or worrying about an upcoming project or deadline. Tell yourself that you will handle these things tomorrow, or write down what you are thinking and set it aside. 14. Don't check the time
If you constantly check the time when you are trying to fall asleep, you will psych yourself out while trying to rush to get some rest. Turn the clock away from your bed so you cannot see it. This will also help reduce the amount of light that you are exposed to throughout the night.
In conclusion, many people are sleep deprived and are looking for solutions to get a better night's rest. Try out these steps to see what works best for you. While you may not need to do all of these things, it is best to have a solid routine so your body can get the rest it needs. This will help you be more active and productive during the day, and also help you avoid the mid-afternoon slump that you may be used to experiencing.