All too often, we forget how important sleep is to our success throughout the day. It’s so easy to keep watching Netflix until 1 AM or work on a project until the sun comes up. But, it’s also some of the worst things to do for being successful during the day. So, how to sleep better?
Not everyone is capable of getting by on only four hours of sleep. I wish I could meet those people and find out their secret (even though I know that it’s just in their genes, I still like to think they know something I don’t). Studies say adults need at least seven hours of sleep at night. And, it needs to be said, seven consecutive hours of sleep are needed.
But sleep can be hard. Jobs, stress, family, a terrible mattress, annoying neighbors, a whiny pet – all are things that can get in the way between you and a soothing sleep. It feels like there are so many obstacles between us and sleep that it can become overwhelming to figure out the perfect recipe for achieving those seven hours of sleep.
Have no fear though! We’re here to give you the best tips on how to sleep better so you can have a more successful and productive day. And, it doesn’t include just taking some Zzz-Quil.
Don’t use a screen before bed. The amount of time can be debated, but leave it at about thirty minutes between your last interaction with a screen and when you lay down to sleep. That means no phones, laptops, tablets, televisions, and even e-readers. Take the time to talk to your partner or read a book to your kids. Or prepare for the next day. Just leave the screen out of it. That time in front of the screen can really negatively affect your chances of falling asleep within the next hour. The light messes with your body. Suddenly, you won’t be able to fall asleep. Just eliminate screen time close to bed and you will be able to notice a difference.
This one can be difficult, but the ideal thing would be to only sleep in your bedroom. I know – it’s a tough one. In college, it was a tough one because all we really had is a bedroom. But, you can break it down to don’t bring work into your bed. I love to read in bed. But, I refuse to bring my laptop into the bed. It’s best to treat your entire room as a sleep sanctuary, but if that isn’t possible – then just keep everything out of your bed. It’s okay to have your desk in your room, but just don’t work on things in your bed because it’s more comfortable. That’s a terrible idea. Keep all that other stuff out. And leave your room for sleeping and sex only. You thought I forgot about that one, but I didn’t.
Exercising is a great way to get a good night of sleep. By working hard in the day, you’re bound to be tired by night. This is a great tip for people that just don’t feel tired at night. Wear yourself out during the day so you can hit the hay when the sun goes down. Exercise earlier in the day. Don’t wait until late to do it because that’ll keep you up all night. Vigorous exercise is great for the mornings. And less vigorous exercise is okay in the evenings. It’s a great way to promote better sleep.
Science says that we sleep better in the cold. So keep your bedroom one of the coolest rooms in your house. It’ll help you sleep better. And, who doesn’t love a cold pillow? And, sometimes the noise of the fan can help drown out other noises. Another hidden benefit!
We all know the people that say “If I have coffee after 2 PM, I’ll be up all night.” But there really is something there. The more caffeine you drink closer to bedtime, the less likely you’ll be able to fall asleep. Drink water or have some herbal tea instead. And, if you’re really hardcore, you can cut out caffeine altogether. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it is a great way to sleep better because you won’t have any caffeine coursing through your veins.
Sure, you fall asleep after drinking, but it’s not the kind of sleep that you want. Who feels good when they wake up after a night of drinking? Alcohol disrupts important parts of our sleep, which makes it a bad aid for the sleepless. I know you thought the nightcap was beneficial because it makes you tired, but it’s one of the worst things you can do if you want to sleep better.
Your body wants to fall asleep in the dark. Light can be a huge deterrent from sleep. A television screen will disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle. So, shut those blinds and keep the television off. By keeping the room completely dark, you are helping your body prepare for sleep. Another great trick is to turn your alarm clock around so you won’t be distracted by the light. And that way, you won’t panic when you wake up in the middle of the night and see that you only have one hour left before you have to wake up.
I know you’re tired in the afternoon, but skip the nap so you can sleep at night. It’s a catch-22 when you nap because you won’t get a good night of sleep which makes you tired during the day … which causes you to nap. So start skipping the naps and you’ll start to see how little you need them. Naps aren’t good for sleeping at night. They’re some of the worst things you can do during the day for your sleep at night. If you have to nap, keep it to 20 minutes.
The best tip I’ve ever heard was that if you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes, get up and do something. Like, read a book or write in your journal. Don’t turn on all the lights, but do something else because you’re not yet ready for sleep. It’s a great way to keep yourself from getting frustrated that you’re not sleeping. And, you’ll notice after a while of reading or writing that you actually are becoming tired.
Pick a time to fall asleep and to wake up. And do it every day – even on the weekends. When you sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays, you’re just losing all the good habits you started to create throughout the week. Stick to your sleep schedule and be surprised by how easy it becomes to fall asleep and wake up.
Keep your eating to a minimum before bed. You should have a space of about three hours between your last meal and bedtime. All that food in your stomach can make it hard for you to fall asleep.
Most importantly, you need to know when it’s time to bring it up to your doctor. If you feel like you should be getting more sleep or you are getting the sleep and still wake up tired, reach out to your doctor.
Sleep is the key to having a great day. Learning how to sleep better can change your life for the better. We all know when we’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed and it’s because we’ve had a terrible night of sleep. It happens, but by focusing on sleeping better, we can really diminish those restless nights.
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