5 Tips to Sleep Better at Night
A good night’s sleep may seem like a dream when you’re up night after night tossing and turning and counting the dwindling hours until your alarm. Many of us struggle to shut down our bodies and minds on a daily basis, resulting in the sluggish feeling from the lack of restoration the evening before. The five tips below may help restore your body’s ability to get full night of restful sleep.
5 Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep
- Sleep Schedule – Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to enhance your body’s sleep-wake cycle. A weekend of disruption can result in a Monday morning sleep hangover. If you get off track after a late night (we all need to have some fun), opt for a short nap in the early afternoon instead of sleeping in, it will alleviate disruption to your sleep-wake rhythms.
- Environment – Dark, cool and quiet are ideal conditions for sleeping. Since our bodies work under circadian rhythms, dark rooms indicate that it is time for sleep. Consider utilizing room darkening window coverings and covering electronics that emit light. You may even want to wear a sleep mask to help eliminate exposure. Turn your thermostat down at night, not only can you save a couple dollars during the winter, but your body sleeps best in a room under 70 degrees. If you aren’t able to control noise outside, try to mask it using fans or white noise machines.
- Nix Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol – Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can take hours to wear off. Try to avoid caffeine after 2pm and nicotine 2 hours before bed for best results. Alcohol on the other hand can make you feel sleepy, but it actually disrupts the body’s ability to get into a deep sleep (REM cycles). Try to have your drink with dinner so its effects are worn off by the time you close your eyes.
- De-stress – Let your body know it’s time to wind down. Incorporate stretching or relaxation exercises and take some deep breaths. You may even consider aromatherapy, as lavender essential oil is known for its calming properties that promote sleep. Brain can’t shut down? Instead of picking up your phone and exposing your body to bright light, keep a notebook next to your bed to jot down things on your mind that can be pushed to tomorrow.
- Exercise – Along with a multitude of health benefits, vigorous exercise betters your sleep, but even as little as ten minutes of aerobic activity a day can have positive effects on sleep quality. However, timing can be a factor in helping you fall asleep. Try to avoid strenuous workouts late in the evening as they can leave you feeling energized long after your workout is complete.