We all know we’re supposed to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night; so how can something that’s supposed to come naturally sometimes seem so difficult? Rest assured – there are things that you can do to help yourself relax and unwind that don’t involve counting sheep.
1. Set a bedtime alarm
This one may sound silly but hear us out. You set an alarm to wake up in the morning, so why not an alarm to go to bed at night? When you set an alarm an hour or so before your desired bedtime, it can help remind you to wrap up any last minute tasks, pick out your clothes for the next day- whatever it is that will start to get your body into sleep mode. At the very least it can remind you that it might not be a good idea to start another episode on Netflix.
If you sit behind a desk all day, this is especially important. Exercising can help expel any energy or pent up annoyances that accumulate throughout the day. However, try not to exercise too close to bedtime or you could just pump up your adrenaline too much to feel tired.
3. Go easy on the alcohol before bed
While that nightcap might make it feel easier to fall asleep, when your buzz wears off later in the night, you’re less likely to stay asleep. Limit the number of glasses of wine to one or two or eliminate drinking altogether if you’re tossing and turning throughout the night.
4. It’s (not) electric!
Step away from the electronics! This can be especially hard to do in this day and age but studies show that watching TV, scrolling through your phone, or surfing the web before bed can actually stimulate your brain and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Instead, try reading, writing in a journal, meditating, or even taking a hot bath or shower before bedtime.
5. Chill out
A cool environment is more conducive to a good night’s sleep. Experts say that the body’s core temperature needs to drop by about 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit to initiate sleep. If our core temperature is too high, the brain cannot easily make the switch from being awake to being asleep, or create the best quality sleep.
6. Use your bed for sleep and “cuddling” only!
This means no watching TV, eating, or working in bed! If you really can’t sleep, experts recommend getting out of bed to do something else — as long it’s relaxing and doesn’t involve bright light. Then, climb back into bed when you begin to feel tired. This way your brain will start to associate your bed with sleep- and only sleep!
7. Keep a consistent schedule
If you go to bed around the same time every night, your body will soon start to respond. This is where that bedtime alarm will come in handy. Remember- it can take awhile for behavior to become a habit, so stick to it!
8. Keep the bedroom quiet – but not TOO quiet
We all prescribe to the belief that no noise is good noise when it comes to sleep. However, sometimes if a bedroom is too quiet, then every little, tiny noise can sound like a cannon going off. Consider a sound machine to play soothing ocean waves, soft classical music, or even look into a white noise machine. You’ll be surprised at the difference a little ambient noise can make.
9. Transform your room into tranquil haven
Turn your bedroom into your dream room! Think about painting the walls a tranquil hue of blue or green, and go from there. Fill it with comforting elements like aromatherapy candles or relaxing linen spray, soft blankets, fluffy pillows, and anything else that helps get your mind and body ready for sleep.
10. Work through your day before getting into bed.
Life can be hectic, but that doesn’t mean it has to keep you up at night. Before crawling into bed, try to put to rest any issues you’ve had throughout the day. You could do this by journaling, meditating, praying, talking with a loved one, or even talking to yourself. It’s important to work out your thoughts before your head hits the pillow so racing thoughts don’t keep your brain awake.
Most importantly – know when you talk to your Doctor. Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, you may be suffering from an underlying condition. However, by practicing these tips, you can begin to identify and address your own bedtime habits and start walking down the path to the better sleep you deserve.
What helps you get your best rest?