Are you having a good night’s sleep?
More importantly, are you having a restful sleep?
Adequate sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body and for your health because it allows your body to heal as you rest.
Unfortunately, a number of people are having problems getting enough sleep. This was my issue for the majority of 2020. Whether you suffer from insomnia, poor sleep quality or have an obscure sleep schedule, here are some tips that should help.
Those that suffer from insomnia often have trouble falling asleep at night. They may lay wide awake for hours and hours, thinking of the things they must do the next day, worrying over situations they can’t control, or simply unable to fall asleep. If this describes you, there are a number of things that you can do that may help.
Turn Off Your Gadgets
At least one or two hours before bed every night, turn off all your electronics including cell phone, tablet, laptop etc. The screens emit blue light and the flashing lights only stimulate your brain when it should be shutting down for sleep.
Do your best not to watch TV or surf the internet right before bed. Instead, try reading a book or have a chat with your partner, spouse, or roommate.
Take a Relaxing Bath
A long and warm bath can do wonders for your sleep. Consider adding lavender or Epsom salts to your bath to calm your muscles and relax your mind. You can even turn off the lights or simply close your eyes to help your brain shut down.
Practice Gentle Stretches
Some yoga can help your body prepare for rest. Try to refrain from doing any cardio or fast exercise before bed; this will actually wake up and stimulate your body. Basic stretching can help you unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
If insomnia is a common problem for you, try cutting out caffeine. Although I have never been officially diagnosed with insomnia, I have experienced insomnia like tendencies and it’s not fun.
I learned the hard way and found out that it’s important to avoid caffeine in the evening. Understanding that it might be unrealistic to cut it out completely, caffeine is a stimulant, and repetitive use can sometimes cause addictive symptoms.
Plan Your Day
A lot of people have a tendency to lie awake thinking of tasks they need to accomplish the next day, I’m 100% guilty of this. To avoid this, take a few minutes to write down a “To Do” list and plan out your day the night before or try to do it on a weekly basis.
Also, jot down any notes you may have as well. In some cases, it can be easier to dwell on the things that you don’t want to forget. Lastly, writing them down should give you some peace of mind and help you sleep.
If you still have trouble falling asleep after trying these preparative tips, try meditating. If you have never meditated before, trust me, it’s not as hokey as you may think. I thought about mediation as hokey before I fell in love with it.
Not sure where to start, Jason Stephenson as the very first meditation audio that I ever listened to. This one on YouTube is specifically called, guided meditation. I prefer guided meditation.
Giving mediation a try may just be that one thing that will help you have an amazing sleep. It did for me.
Poor Sleep Quality
If you don’t have a problem falling asleep but still wake up tired, you may have a sleep disorder. Before you check with a doctor, though, make sure these common culprits aren’t disrupting your sleep.
Your Spouse or Bed Partner
If you share your bed with a spouse or partner, their sleep habits just may be the culprit. They may be responsible for waking you up at night. Some common complaints are “hogging” the bed, snoring, and cuddling. If you’re dealing with a bed “hog” or cuddler, make a barrier out of pillows between the two of you before you fall asleep.
Someone that snores may have sleep apnea, a fairly common sleep disorder. A CPAP machine is typically the treatment for this. Alternatively, there are a number of over-the-counter treatments for this condition that are budget-friendly and effective.
I know, you love your furbaby but, if possible, they should not be allowed in your bedroom when you’re sleeping. Dogs and cats are notorious sleep disruptors. Though you may not realize it, they are likely waking you up slightly several times each night.
And, if you suffer from clogged nasal passages, you should consider removing your furbaby out of your bedroom for good. Your sinus problems could be a mild allergic reaction to pet dander and hair. Once you’ve done that, clean your room thoroughly, keep your pet out, and the symptoms should, in theory, disappear.
A common temperature of about 70 is ideal for the daytime but good sleep happens at a lower temperature. This may sound foolish to you if you like a warm and cozy room but according to SleepFoundation.org try setting your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees for better sleep each night. The coolness should help you have a more restful sleep.
If you have a tendency to worry throughout your day, your mind is most likely having a hard time shutting down at night too. This can result in insomnia, but in some cases it causes poor sleep instead. If you are having negative thoughts or overwhelming emotions, it’s important to talk to your doctor about ways to solve the problem.
Obscure Sleep Schedule
A natural circadian rhythm helps our bodies know when to sleep and when to wake, or otherwise known as our sleep-wake cycle. Unfortunately, it can be easy for these rhythms to become disrupted.
If you fall asleep in the early hours of the morning and continue to sleep until early afternoon, it’s very likely that your circadian rhythm is disrupted. The good news is, this can be reset and you can start to enjoy a normal sleep schedule again.
Go to Bed Slightly Earlier Each Night
Don’t try to jump from a 1 a.m. bedtime to an 10 p.m. bedtime. This almost never works. Instead, try moving your bedtime up by just 15 to 30 minutes each night. For example, the first night you might go to bed at 12:30 instead of 1. The next night, you might move it back to 12:15 or 12:00. Eventually, you should expect to begin falling asleep at an earlier time each night.
Get Plenty Of Sunshine
Sunshine and Vitamin D are important parts of the circadian rhythm. If you spend all day indoors, your body will become confused by the lack of sunlight. To combat this problem, make sure you spend more time outside.
Make Your Bedroom Dark
Your body also needs darkness at bedtime. Otherwise, the light will make your brain think it’s time to be awake. Shut off all of the lights in your bedroom, and install curtains over any windows. Even some small digital alarm clocks can cause problems, so make sure your room is as dark as you can comfortably make it.
Eat Regular Meals
Your eating habits also affect your sleep-wake cycle. Try to ensure that you eat a good breakfast each morning, a healthy lunch, and a filling dinner a few hours before your optimum bedtime. This should help reset your internal clock, it helped mine.
Adequate rest is the best thing you can do for your health and well-being. If you find that you’re not getting the sleep you need and in most cases want and nothing seems to help, it may be time to see your doctor for a proper sleep evaluation.
There could be an underlying condition that is affecting your sleep. Oftentimes, a simple change in your routine or changes in your eating habits can have a tremendous effect on your quality of sleep.