If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. Whether it’s that you don’t feel sleepy at night, you have trouble staying asleep, or you don’t feel rested in the morning, sleep problems are a common issue.
Luckily, there are many simple measures you can take to improve your sleeping habits and get better quality sleep.
Set a Sleep Schedule and Stick to It
Your body tries to anticipate when you’re going to sleep and begins the process as your bedtime approaches. For example, it releases melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Having an irregular sleep schedule means you won’t be able to take full advantage of these processes. So try to keep to your regular sleep and wake times, even on weekends.
Vigorous exercise is best, but any physical activity can help you use up energy during the day so you can rest better at night.
Do Something Relaxing Before Bed
Find a calming activity that you can add to your bedtime routine. For example, reading, listening to relaxing music, meditating, practicing gentle yoga or taking a bath.
Avoid Taking Naps, Especially in the Afternoon
A nice nap may feel refreshing, but studies show that daytime napping leads to worse nighttime sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you should save your sleep for bedtime.
Use The Right Mattress and Pillow
If you’ve had your mattress for too long, it might not be providing proper support, so check if it’s time for a replacement. Most good quality mattresses have a life expectancy of about 10 years.
There are a variety of specially-designed pillows that may help you sleep better, such as cervical neck pillows designed to keep your head and neck properly positioned.
Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink
While you probably know to avoid caffeine right before bed, it might surprise you that research shows that drinking coffee up to six hours before bed can impact your sleep.
You should also avoid eating large meals for 2-3 hours before bed, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes, as they can also disrupt sleep.
Avoid Bright Light Before Bed
Being exposed to bright light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. It throws your internal clock (also known as the circadian rhythm) out of whack. So looking at the bright screen of a TV, computer, or phone before bed will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
If you have trouble avoiding those electronics before bed, there are screen dimmer apps that can help. They can automatically adjust your phone or computer screen, so that as your bedtime approaches, the light gets gradually shifted towards the red end of the spectrum. This helps minimize the effects on your sleep because red light is the least disruptive to your internal clock.
Get More Bright Light During the Day
Being exposed to bright light during the day can help your internal clock stay in sync, which will help you feel more energized during the day and sleep better at night.
Put it into Practice
These sleeping tips should give you some options when it comes to improving your sleep habits. So try a few of them out to find what works best for you and enjoy a good night’s sleep!