Do you take hours to fall asleep? Have you ever had a full night’s sleep and felt completely miserable afterwards? My sister has a horrific time sleeping – she rarely does. When she manages to get some shut eye, she sneaks in either 2-4 hours… or 14 hours. It’s bad. Various therapists and sleeping experts couldn’t help. All they wanted to do was prescribe her sleeping meds.
1. The Dangers of LED
Screens (in most cases a smartphone) are the #1 reason why people can’t sleep. Blinded by the blue light in LED screens, our brain shuts down the release of melatonin. Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone,” which controls our body clock. iPads, phones, TVs, laptops – anything with a screen must be eliminated.
If you’re prone to waking up in the middle of night, grabbing your device and checking social media for a minute or two, you won’t find it a good way to doze back asleep. Resist the urge to grab your smartphone or laptop and assess why you think you woke up in the first place.
2. Nap During The Day
Believe it or not, 20-minute power naps have been shown to drastically increase productivity in the workplace. Even if you’ve had your body’s sleeping allocation for the day, naps increase alertness, creativity and enhances our mood.
3. Stick To A Sleeping Schedule
Adjust your biological clock and help it do what it’s meant to, by going to sleep every night at the same time, if it can be helped. A stable sleeping pattern aligns your bio-clock to recognise when it is time to sleep. This is crucial towards ensuring a full night’s luxurious sleep.
Sometimes, sleeping schedules go astray. That’s life – things happen. Try your best to get back on track as soon as time permits.
4. Chow Down The Right Foods
Serotonin and melatonin are neurotransmitters that help you sleep. To get those transmitters, your brain needs tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in turkey. Turkey is loaded with tryptophan – which could explain why you feel incredibly sleepy at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Other foods that send you to sweet dreamland are:
- Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
- Reduced fat mozzarella
- Pumpkin and squash seeds
- Chicken breast
(Basically, all muscle-building staple foods that are high in protein.)
5. Maintain Silence
Whether your loved one is snoring away, the neighbours are noisy, your house guests are in the other room chatting away, or your family is blaring the TV, some noises never stop.
Short of letting everybody in your house know that you’re trying to sleep, consider purchasing quality custom-made earplugs. If those are a no go, have a look for sleep-specific noise-cancelling headphones. Be sure the ‘phones are fit for sleeping in.
6. Exercise Regularly
Regular cardiovascular exercise (running, swimming, burpees, etc.) dramatically improves the quality and duration of your shut-eye time. The body needs only 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise for our body heat to remain high. It stays high for around 4 hours.
During your body’s cool down period, your brain will be receiving frequent signals that it’s time for sleep. This is made possible through the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone (I’ve talked about melatonin so much because it is that important for a good night’s rest.)
7. Stop Worrying About The Future
Not being able to turn off our minds is a giant problem. They’re a dial that can’t be turned off. I used to worry about things like…
- What’s going to happen tomorrow
- Replaying conversations in my head
- Fretting over goals I hadn’t reached
- Wondering why am I not where I want to be in life
I’m not alone in experiencing those feelings. These fears hang in the balance of many people’s minds. A way to clear the air and form a response for them is to simply jot them down. You can jot them down in a journal, notebook, stationary pad, etc.
Writing down every one of your woesome thoughts, by hand, empties the mental clutter so you can have a spiritually nourishing slumber. This steers your mind clear of thinking about them.
Another thing you can do (while we’re on the subject of cleaning) is to shower and brush your teeth. If you feel dirty you’re going to obsess about it – just as you would with your mental “clogs”.
8. Tense Yourself To The Limits
Relax your muscles by tensing them as hard as you possibly can (without straining yourself), holding them for a few moments, and then release the tension. This form of muscle relaxation (which also fights stress), usually accompanied by rhythmic breathing, helps relax the mind as well as your body. Try it tonight while you’re lying on your back. (You aren’t going anywhere, are you?)
Most studies demonstrate that room temperatures of between 62 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (17-21 degrees Celsius) seem to work best for sleeping. The reason is that our core body temperature drops at night. In fact, this drop is a signal to the brain to say goodnight. A warm room can inhibit this process.
10. Optimize Your Bedroom
Where you sleep has just as much importance as what you do to prepare for bed. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the bed should be reserved for a deep night’s natural sleeping and love-making. Which is fine – however, how much stock have you put into the rest of your bedroom?
It’s been well-known that a messy, untidy room piles stress on our psychological well-being. Here are a few ways you can maximise your bedroom’s good vibes for a comfier sleep starting today:
- Control your internal clock by keeping the room dark (this means NO screens of any kind). The hypothalamus (responsible for your inner clock) releases cortisol when light is detected. As a result, your body temperature raises, and your wakefulness is restored.
- Clean the clutter: using a closed hamper to keep piles of clothes from your view does a lot for maximising your sleep.
- Keep pillows full and fresh by replacing them every 1-2 years.
- Use YouTube for bedroom organisation tips
Consider some of these techniques (or all of them!) when you’re about to hit the hay tonight. Don’t put yourself through another catastrophic sleep by waiting until tomorrow. Stop being miserable in your day-to-day and do something about your sleep habits. Your mind, body and life health (and friends) will thank you for choosing to make a positive difference. It certainly has in my beloved sister’s sleep schedule in no time at all.
Featured photo credit: Wokandapix via pixabay.com