Feeling cranky lately? Or simply worn out? Perhaps sleep is the solution is. Think about all the factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep from pressure at work and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, such as layoffs, relationship issues or illnesses. It’s no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive. Although you might not be able to control all of the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that can help.
1. Stick To A Sleep Schedule
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There’s a but though, if you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.
2. Better Manage Stress
When you have too much to do and too much to think about your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
3. Watch What You Eat And Drink
Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed, your discomfort is likely to keep you awake. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
4. Get Comfortable
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping, often this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there’s enough room for two. If you have children or pets, try to set limits on how often they sleep with you or insist on separate sleeping quarters.
5. Create A Bedtime Ritual
Doing the same things each night tells your body it’s time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music preferably with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activities can promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness. Be wary of using the TV or other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual. Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.
6. Exercise As A Daily Routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.