Sleep, the one thing we all need but can’t all seem to get. Getting better sleep is always on my wish list, how about you? Despite the feeling that it’s impossible to improve your sleep, there are some really simple things you can do to make that a reality.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to get better sleep. I want you to look through them and see if there’s anything you can do to help get the rest you deserve. Better sleep means a better life overall! Some of these things are easy to do and won’t cost you anything except a little effort. It could be worth it for you. Let’s do this together and see if we can all get a better night’s sleep!
Did you know that the light from electronic devices can throw off your body’s natural rhythm? Our bodies were designed to respond to natural cues coming from the sun. When it rises, we wake up. When it sets, we get tired and go to sleep. It’s not always that cut-and-dry, but essentially that is how our bodies are made to work.
Using your phone, tablet, or laptop right before bed is a recipe for poor sleep. You might find it difficult to fall asleep right away or you won’t feel relaxed at all. Put away the electronics at least an hour before bed if at all possible.
If your clock is visible at night on your bedside table or dresser, there is a good chance you will be staring obsessively at it. Needless to say, this is not a good habit! Your sleep depends on you being able to relax, calm your mind, and slip into peaceful slumber. If evert time you open your eyes you get a view full of numbers showing you exactly how late it is, you won’t relax.
Most people that catch a glimpse of their alarms at night start to think about how they really need to sleep, what time they are going to wake up, what they plan to do tomorrow, and a million other unhelpful thoughts. Get rid of this distraction by pointing your clock away from you, blocking it, or buying a very dim alarm clock light.
3. Help Your Neck Stay Straight
You’ll sleep better and avoid waking up with a killer neck ache if you try to sleep in a position that keeps your neck “neutral”. There are a few ways to do this, and most of them have to do with adjusting your sleeping position or bedding.
Feather pillows are a good option, because they adjust easily to the shape of your neck and are soft enough for you to feel comfortable. Don’t choose a pillow that is too small or too large. Make your pillow the right size to keep your neck lined up with your spine when you lay on your side. Memory foam pillows can also be useful, as they don’t reduce over time as feather pillows will.
Sleeping on your side can be good for your neck position, but sleeping on your back is the best way to position it properly.
While it might sound a little funny, you should ONLY be using your bed for two things: sleep and sexual activity. Anything else happening there will disrupt the mental connection your brain forms with the bed. If you are used to only doing one of two things when you’re in bed, you will more naturally fall asleep more easily (when there isn’t time for the other thing to keep you awake…).
It’s very important that we establish a connection between the bed and sleep. Frequently working, eating, lounging (without sleeping), or anything else in bed will not help you when you finally lay down to rest at night. Try to limit what you’re doing in your bed and see if it will help you feel more ready to sleep when you get in bed at night.
5. Stay Comfortable
The need for a great sleeping environment can’t be over-stated. If you’re trying to get your 7.5 hours of sleep on an old, lumpy mattress with the world’s thinnest pillow than you’re going to have some trouble! Invest in your mattress, pillow, bedding, and whatever else you need to make your room feel like a comfortable place to sleep. Some people accurately call their bedrooms the “sleep sanctuary”.
It’s not just your mattress and pillow that can affect your comfort levels. How much light is getting into your room at night? Is there an annoying noise you’re hearing? Take care of these problems with blackout curtains, white noise machines, or something else to help you really enjoy your rest at night. Comfort is essential to high quality sleep. Source: https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/touch.php
6. Exercise at Least 4 – 5 Times Per Week
As much as you might hate to acknowledge it, exercise does actually improve your sleep. Studies done in the US have suggested that by getting at least 150 minutes of exercise in per week you will get about a 65% improvement on your sleep quality and length.
This is suggested to be the result of your body feeling more tired at the end of the day. In addition, you’ll be more awake and alert the rest of the day, meaning you will get more accomplished and expend even more energy. All of this equals to better sleep for you at night! Just make sure you aren’t exercising 2 – 3 hours before bed, as this could make it harder for you to sleep.
In this day and age, it would be surprising if you didn’t know caffeine could impact your sleep. But, what about other foods and drinks that aren’t associated with caffeine? Actually, a lot of foods you might not think have caffeine do have a hidden amount, such as chocolate. Beyond the hidden caffeine, there are other ways that food and drink can keep you from sleeping.
One example is a heavy meal at night. If you’re eating a meal that’s large or hard to digest (think sausage pizza or 10oz. steak) than you need to eat it early on in the day rather than at night. Eating at night makes it hard for your body to finish digesting before you sleep. A body that’s still working to digest your meal at night will not be able to relax as easily and rest.
8. Wake Up Well
The way you wake up sets the tone for the rest of your day and influences how rested you feel. No matter how much sleep you get, you might still feel awful during the day if you wake up poorly every morning. There are better ways to wake up than a blaring alarm clock! Alarms are bad for two reasons: the sudden wake-up and the easy access to a snooze button.
Snooze buttons are doom to anyone hoping to feel rested in the morning. That extra 10 minutes of sleep you want? It’s not going to make you feel better. Actually, it will make you feel a lot worse because you won’t have time to enter in a REM sleep stage. Skip the loud alarms and skip the snooze button. Look for something more natural like a wake up light or a sleep cycle wakeup application.
9. Go Easy on the Naps
Napping can be great for your health, as long as you do it for short periods of time. Don’t extend your afternoon naps past 30 minutes if possible. Sleeping too much during the day will impede your ability to sleep well at night.
Afternoon naps of 30 minutes are great for lifting up your energy levels during the day and helping you to stay alert. I don’t discourage naps at all, they can actually be awesome for your health and wellness throughout the day! Just be careful and try to time them for a short-term nap. You should never nap for more than an hour if you want to ensure better sleep at night.
10. Be Consistent with Sleep Times
Make a good sleep routine and stick to it. This is going to be one of the best things you can do for your sleep, because it will help to keep your body’s natural clock in the right rhythm. Schedule a bed time as well as a wake up time to make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep every single night!
Healthy sleeping habits are easier to start than you might think. If you think it’s too difficult, try some of these 10 tips to get better sleep and see if they’re work for you! I’m hoping a few of them will work for me as well.
What do you think of this list? Is there anything you’d like to add? Drop a comment below and tell me what you think! Feel free to share this information with anyone else who you think could use it.
My name is Laurie J. Rivenbark, and I am all about making your life as good as possible. Your quality of life is just as important as how long your life is, so why not take some time to invest in improving yourself? Read more