Sleep is vital for your health. Without enough of it you may notice you have a difficult time functioning, both mentally and physically. You may even notice an increase in unhealthy food cravings, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.
If you’re not getting enough sleep at night because of night sweats or another sleep disorder, it is important to address the issue directly, but here are some other things you can do to help promote better sleep.
Set The Stage For Good Sleep
Just as you might do certain things to help improve your workout, for example wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in and make a good set list for your mp3 player, you should also set the scene for a good night of sleep.
Setting the mood for sleep can help create a relaxing, comfortable environment that is conducive to good sleep.
What you wear to bed can help improve or distract your sleep. Everyone has a different preference on what is most comfortable; find what works for you and stick with that. Keep in mind clothes that are too tight and restrictive are typically not the best for good sleep.
Keeping your room cool and dark can also help. For most people a temperature around 68 degrees is best, but everyone has a slightly different preference. Keeping the room dark is also a signal to your body that it is time for sleep as your body will start producing melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Invest In A Good Mattress
Along with setting the stage for sleep, it is also important to have a comfortable place to sleep. A good mattress can be a good investment if you want to improve your sleep. You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a mattress; you just need to make sure you have a comfortable one that will help induce sleep not disrupt it. Before you make a decision try out a few of them to determine what’s most comfortable for you. Or you may simply want to add a memory foam topper for your current mattress to give it a comfort upgrade.
Then dress your mattress with comfortable, breathable bedding and comfortable pillows. You may even want to get a small pillow to use behind your knees if you lay on back at night, or to use between your knees if you lay on your side. This can help reduce back strain and increase your comfort level during the night.
Avoid Unnecessary Distractions
Your bed needs to be a relaxed place. Keep work, laptops and phones out of the bed as they can be stimulating or even stress-inducing. Even watching television in bed isn’t a great idea because of the light and flickering that comes from the television. If you want to watch television before bed watch it elsewhere to unwind then slip into bed when you are feeling more relaxed. Try to keep your bedroom as stress-free as you can.
Keep A Regular Sleep Schedule
By going to bed and getting up around the same time every day you can help set your body’s circadian rhythm. This will help your body know when it’s time to go to bed and when it is time to get up, which in turn should make it easier to go to sleep at night and to wake up in the morning. This can be difficult on weekends or days off of work, but try to go to bed and get up within an hour of your normal schedule. For more on this read: How A Sleep Schedule Can Improve Your Sleep.
Having a relaxing bedtime routine may also help you get to sleep faster. Whether you choose to listen to soothing music, read, meditate or do mild stretching, having a relaxing routine can help get your mind off of other things and provide a nice ending to your day.
What You Eat And Drink Can Make A Difference
Of course drinking a cup of coffee shortly before bed isn’t a good way to induce sleep, but it is best to avoid strong caffeinated drinks, like coffee, for several hours before going to bed.
Eating a big, heavy meal too close to bed time can also disrupt your sleep. Laying down too soon after eating can trigger acid reflux and even night sweats in some people. It’s best not to eat for at least 3 hours before bed, unless you are just having a light snack an hour or so before you call it a night.
Don’t Spend Too Much Time In Bed
Spending more time in bed doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more or better sleep. If you really don’t feel tired enough to go to bed try to find a way to relax and turn the lights down so your body gets the message that it’s time to go to bed.
Sometimes even if you’re tired you may find yourself tossing and turning. If you can’t go to sleep get up and try doing something that will help relax you, for example read, do a few mild stretches or do some breathing exercises until you feel sleepy enough to try again. If you can’t nod off because your mind is racing try writing down your thoughts, or making a to do list. Often externalizing thoughts this way can help calm those racing thoughts.
Exercise In The Morning
Getting regular exercise is a great way to improve your sleep. It can help reduce stress and help make you more physically tired at night. Working out mid day or early evening is great, but if you are specifically exercising to sleep better working out in the morning is best. Studies show that people who workout in the mornings spend more time in a deep sleep and that they cycle through the four different stages of sleep more often throughout the night.
Hopefully you find some of these tips helpful. Everyone has a few poor nights of sleep now and then, but if you are struggling with this on a regular basis it may be time to consult with your doctor._____________________________________