Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your health and well-being, yet a surprising number of people aren’t getting the sleep they need to be their best self. Getting adequate rest can improve your memory, mood, and overall health. Whether you’ve been struggling with sleep lately or you’ve dealt with insomnia for years, this guide will provide some simple tricks to help you get the sleep you need.
Stick to a Schedule
It may seem like silly advice, but having a sleep schedule isn’t just for babies and young children! Having a similar bedtime each night can do wonders for setting and maintaining your internal clock. Try to keep your sleep schedule the same, even on weekends. Consistency is key – your body likes routine!
Sometimes you just need a good powernap. However, if you find that a powernap interferes with a good night’s rest, you may want to avoid them. Too much sleep during the day can interrupt your sleep cycles. If you must nap, try to limit daytime sleep to 20-30 minutes and avoid the late afternoon snooze.
Physical activity during the day helps to promote sleep, especially when it’s done earlier in the day. As little as 20 minutes of daily aerobic exercise can greatly improve your sleep. Why? Exercise reduces stress, tires your muscles, and elevates your body temperature –all of which are conducive to quality sleep. It also keeps you feeling rejuvenated throughout the day!
Purchase High-Quality Sheets
We all know that a supportive mattress and some good pillows are important for sleep. What about your sheets? The importance of high-quality sheets isn’t often emphasized. You might be surprised to learn that your bed sheets and pillowcases are affecting your sleep in more ways than you might think. When it comes to choosing good quality sheets, you’ll want a breathable material that wicks away moisture to keep you cool and comfortable all night long.
What you use to fuel your body can greatly affect your sleep cycles. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine have all been shown to negatively affect sleep, especially when consumed at night. Don’t forget that caffeine can be found in other foods besides coffee, such as chocolate, teas, and sodas. If you tend to go to bed hungry or too full, you may also have a hard time sleeping. Also, eating spicy food before bed may cause heartburn, making it hard to get comfortable enough to rest.
Create Sleep Space
An ideal sleep space will be calm, cool, dark, and quiet. This can be especially hard during the summer months, when the days are warmer and longer. Try using a fan to cool the air and to create white noise to block out disruptive sounds. You may want to consider installing blackout curtains to control the amount of light coming in (and to help keep your room cool!) Begin to wind down an hour or so before bedtime to help create a relaxed atmosphere.
A good night’s sleep can be attainable by making some simple changes to your everyday routine. It also might help to keep track of your sleep cycles until you learn more about your personal sleep habits. You can keep track by writing down your sleep and wake times in a diary, or by using an app. If trying these tips doesn’t seem to help, be sure to talk to your doctor about other options. Your doctor may be able to help you to identify the underlying problem for your lack of sleep and determine if you need to see a sleep specialist.