Many people stay awake at night tossing and turning. Lost sleep can affect every area of a person’s life, and can be detrimental to health and well-being. Follow our five easy tips to relax your mind and have a more restful night.
1. Make the Right Environment for Sleep
When we are having trouble sleeping, sometimes we overlook the effect of our sleeping environment.
Blue light from electronic devices tricks the brain into thinking it is still daylight, and can severely impact your sleep quality. If you do use electronics before bed, take advantage of their nighttime setting for reduced blue light. Keep your bedroom dimly lit before bed, using low-power incandescent light bulbs.
Make sure your bedroom temperature is set between 60 and 67 degrees for best results. Use bedding and pillows that complement your sleep style. One person may be more comfortable under a thin blanket while another enjoys a thick down comforter.
Keep your room neat and uncluttered to promote a restful environment. Having to maneuver around clutter is stressful and can remind you too much of daily activities. Make your bed daily to promote a feeling of calm and relaxation.
2. Reduce External Light Sources
Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible for the best sleep environment. It may be necessary to buy new shades or blackout curtains. Any source of artificial light in the bedroom could be bothersome, from clocks to cable boxes. Cover even the smallest lights if you can.
3. Pay Attention to Sounds
In your bedroom environment, make sure there are no extraneous sounds that could affect your sleep. If you have a snoring partner, try to work with them to reduce their snoring or sleep separately. Use a white noise machine or relaxing sound effects like rain or thunder to help mask unwanted sounds. A fan can also be helpful.
4. Avoid Caffeine and Sugar Before Bed
Some people are not as sensitive to the effects of caffeine, but others need to be careful at which time of day they indulge in coffee or tea. A general rule is to avoid caffeine after 2 PM, and to stop sooner if you are sensitive.
Experiment with moving your last serving of caffeine earlier in the day until you find the best time for your body. A cup of herbal tea or hot cocoa will relax you before bedtime without causing sleep problems. Don’t drink too much tea, however, or it will result in increased bathroom visits.
It is also worthwhile to stop eating for a few hours before going to bed. Digestion may keep you awake. Alcoholic beverages can put you to sleep initially, but will cause you to wake more frequently during the night. Avoid treats that raise your blood sugar before bedtime.
5. Create A Pre-Sleep Routine
Following the same steps each night before you go to sleep is an important way to tell your brain that is time to rest. Wind down by reducing any stressful activities. Avoid electronics for an hour before bedtime. Change into comfortable pajamas, brush your teeth, and perform any other evening self-care tasks you like.
A warm bath or shower is soothing and relaxing before bed. It also causes your body temperature to rise and then drop. This naturally mimics your body’s own actions when it is time to go to sleep.
Finally, if you are having severe sleep problems, be sure to consult with your primary care doctor. Herbal sleep remedies may help you when used under a doctor’s supervision, or you may need prescription medication. Sleep loss can have severe impacts on the body and mind. Better sleep benefits you throughout the day and makes you a happier, more productive person.
Written by Cathy