I hear so many people these days talking about how they can't fall asleep or stay asleep and that is really sad. Sleep is so imperative to our lives on a day to day basis. In fact it's one of the basic necessities we need in life because our bodies NEED to recharge. Would you leave your house for work without having a fully charged phone? Probably not, so why are you doing that to your body and your mind?
I used to struggle with sleep but the past few years it's been a breeze and I figured I should put a post together with some advice on how to get a better night's sleep based off what has worked for me and those around me.
[1. Establish a Routine....and Stay On It! ]
I know it may seem impossible, especially if you are in your early 20's where you go out real late at night and don't fall asleep till early in the morning, but it's super important to stick to the same sleeping patterns. You can actually use a sleep tracker on your Fitbit if you have one to show you how much sleep you get during the week and you can look at the days you felt well rested and see how many hours you got the night before. That shows you how much sleep you should probably get. Then you should determine realistic time frames for bedtime and waking up. I get up at 5:42 am every Mon-Fri. On Weekends I don't sleep past 7 am. I go to bed by 10 every night and on weekends I may stay up till 11 but no later. This way I'm only ever fluctuating an hour here and there. It's much easier come Sunday night.
[2. No Late Night Snacking]
Before you roll your eyes, just know this...if you are smart about timing your meals in the evening you won't need to eat right before bed. I have dinner between 5 and 6 every night. I have dessert around 7 and then I allow myself to have some cereal around 8. Then I don't eat anything past that. Eating before bed can not only give you unwanted energy but it also can cause issues like acid reflux when you lay down before you food can properly digest.
[3. No Phone Zone]
When it's about an hour before bedtime, you should enter the No Phone Zone. That means stay off of your laptop, tablet, and phone. The bright light actually can stimulate your body to stay in an awakened state. If you have the TV on, keep it dim.
[4. The Bedroom]
If you have your own place, make sure you hang out and lounge around in a room OTHER than your bedroom. Use the bedroom only for 2 things... sex and sleep. This way, when you go into your bedroom for bed, your body gets in the bedtime zone. I used to watch TV in bed all evening and I was so stir crazy and didn't want to sleep when it was time to.
[5. Make A List]
Some of us have a million things we need to get done and little things that happen throughout the day cause us to worry all night. Before you settle down for the evening make a list of anything on your mind. It's a great way to clear your head because the act of writing things down makes you feel like you are releasing it from the To Do List in your mind.
[6. White Noise]
Some people sleep better with some sort of white noise whether it's an actual white noise machine or cell phone app, or it's the sound of a fan.
[7. Temperature ]
The ideal temperature for sleep is anywhere from 68-72 according to most books I've read. If you are one of those people that wakes up sweating in the middle of the night, you may need to turn your thermostat down. Try sleeping with a fan on yourself and if you don't have central air, consider putting a window unit in your bedroom.
We know that what you eat before bed can affect sleep but did you know that your entire diet can also have a major impact? If you have a lot of sugar and caffeine in your diet it can actually throw you all out of whack and you will never feel like you can relax enough for sleep.
If you're a deep sleeper like me, you're lucky because most people can't sleep with pets in their bed. If that's the case make sure your pooch or kitty has their own bed. And when you get a new pet, force them to sleep on their own in the beginning because if you let them in at first, they will always expect to sleep with you.
I shake my head all the time when I see people's sleeping positions and their pillows. First of all always invest in a good pillow. I don't care how much it costs, it's crucial and will always be a worthy investment. If you sleep on your side you need a more supportive pillow to keep your spine aligned. If you sleep on your back you may need a flatter pillow. Figure out what works best for you. If you can't get comfortable you won't be able to drift off to dreamland, duh!
Have you ever struggled with sleep?