If you have been feeling irritable or exhausted lately, maybe you should consider improving your sleep quality.
Consider all the things that can mess up your precious night’s sleep – from work stress and family obligations to sudden obstacles such as relationship problems, lost jobs, or health issues. It figures why sometimes it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Often, it is impossible to take control of all the factors that mess up your sleep, but you can adopt good sleep-promoting habits. You can begin with these simple steps.
1. Plan your sleep and stick with it
Go to sleep and wake up at regular times every day, including on weekends, days off, and holidays. Consistency strengthens your natural sleep-wake cycle and helps improve sleep quality. But be warned: if it takes you more than 15 minutes to fall asleep, give it up and try to relax with something else. Return to bed when you feel tired. If you get too anxious to fall asleep, then it is likely to get even harder.
2. Watch your food and beverages
Avoid going to bed either stuffed or hungry. It is possible that your discomfort will prevent you from falling asleep. You might also want to avoid excessive drinking late at night, or you might be forced to get up from sleep to go to the toilet. Here are some foods you can eat if you’re really craving something before bed.
Be wary of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants with prolonged action and can destroy the quality of your sleep. Moreover, although alcohol may seem to bring you closer to sleep at first, it has the potential to ruin it for you later in the night.
3. Create a bedtime act
Adopt a standard behavioral pattern every night to let your body know it’s time to slow down. Examples include reading a book, taking a shower or a warm bath, or listening to relaxing musing – dimming the lights as well also helps. Activities like these may improve sleep quality by making the transition to drowsiness smoother.
Be careful of including television or other electronics in your bedtime act. There is research showing that exposure to screens and other electronics close to bedtime may adversely affect sleep.
4. Get comfortable
Arrange your bedroom in a way that promotes sleep, which often means dark, cool, and quiet. You can use devices such as earplugs, shades, or a fan to tailor the environment accordingly.
Your sleep will also be affected by your pillow and mattress. There is no one-size-fits-all approach here, so make your choices according to your own comfort level. If you don’t sleep alone, ensure that both of you have ample room. If there are pets or children in the house, try to limit their access to your bed or forbid it completely. It might even be a good idea to go with a non-toxic mattress.
5. Limit daytime naps
If you go overboard with naps during the day, your nighttime sleep will suffer — especially if you have been having trouble sleeping properly. If you do opt for a daytime nap, don’t let it surpass 10 to 30 minutes, and try to schedule it for midafternoon.
If you have to work at night, these rules regarding daytime napping don’t apply to you. If that’s your situation, try to prevent as much sunlight as possible from entering your room. It will disrupt your internal clock and prevent you from sleeping during the day.
6. Get more physical in your daily life
Adopting a more physically active lifestyle will improve your sleep quality, helping you sleep faster and deeper. But you need to time it properly. If you engage in physical exercise too late in the day, your energy drive will be too high to fall asleep. If you find yourself troubled by this particular problem, move your exercise routine to earlier in the day.
7. Deal with stress
When you are overburdened with duties and responsibilities, your sleep might be adversely affected. To overcome this, try to manage stress in a healthy way. The basics work: organize yourself, prioritize properly, and set tasks and sub-tasks. Don’t be afraid to take a break if you feel like it. Socialize with friends and blow off some steam. Before getting to sleep, make a note of all your loose ends so that you can work on them tomorrow.
8. Don’t be afraid to see a physician if you need to
Sleepless nights are something that we all experience now and then. But if this has become a constant nuisance for you, contact your physician. Finding and treating any hidden causes can help you sleep the way you deserve.
Featured photo credit: Olichel via pixabay.com