12 Tips For Higher-Quality Sleep And An Easy Awakening In The Morning
Quality sleep is something that can seem elusive to many adults these days. As technology and mobility become increasingly important in our lives, we find things like rest, relaxation, and sleep suffer the most from these new, trendy distractions.
We talk about how tired we are all day at work, but when we get home and change into something comfortable, we find ourselves restless. Usually, this means that we spend our time with our smartphones, televisions, or whatever tech distractions we own and end up staying up much longer than intended. This has consequences.
If you’re one of those people that find yourself tossing and turning at night, or conversely, waking up the next morning feeling groggy and not well rested, it's time to change the script. Here is a list of tips to aid you in getting the rest you deserve.
1. Set Up A Sleep Schedule
Setting up a sleep schedule—and sticking to it—is the first step in helping you get a better night’s rest. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we don’t have the time to set up a healthier schedule, but if you’re serious about your health, you’ll want to start evaluating the things that you do before bed at night.
If you must, start with baby steps. Start eliminating unnecessary activities before bed. Try to make your working hours more productive if you tend to take too much work home in the evenings. Look for ways to combine tasks that you perform in the evening or ways to perform them more efficiently. Adjustments can help out a lot.
2. Don't Eat Heavy Meals Before Bed
Food is delicious, but eating a heavy meal before bed can disrupt your sleep patterns. Sleeping on a full stomach make you feel uncomfortable and bloated.
The reclining position aggravates indigestion issues, such as heartburn, when you get in bed after a large meal that includes spicy food. If you eat too much ice cream right before bed, you may find yourself battling a sugar rush while trying to rest.
Consider eating a light, healthy snack before bed if you're a little hungry. Try to make sure you consume heavy meals no later than two hours before bedtime.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise benefits your body in a multitude of healthy ways. It helps you lose weight. It can help your mental health. It can battle many diseases. It can help you sleep.
Intense exercise tires your body and assists in helping you sleep to restore energy. Exercising also helps you to relieve any stresses that may be on your mind and consequently affecting your sleep patterns, whether negatively or otherwise.
Everyone’s definition of “intense” exercise will differ depending on individual health levels. Don’t think you need to perform high-intensity workouts if that’s not something your normally do. Always be safe and smart about exercising.
4. Don’t Take Long Naps In The Evenings
While some people think that you can’t nap at all in the evenings, a person can take a power nap lasting no longer than 20 minutes and still manage a good night’s rest.
Power naps can refresh you without compromising your sleep patterns. However, naps longer than 20 minutes will disrupt sleep the longer you nap. If you can’t take short naps, it’s best to avoid them and aim for going to bed at a reasonable time that can allow you to get adequate sleep for the night.
Try to get to bed earlier to avoid being too tired when the afternoons arrive.
5. Take A Shower (or Bath) Before Bed
Taking a shower (or bath) before bed can help you unwind. A warm shower can assist you in easing any tension you might be holding onto in your body, and a shower is a great activity for thinking about and letting go of daily concerns.
However, make sure your shower isn’t too hot, and aim for taking it around two hours before bed. This will give your body time to cool down, for better sleep.
6. No Electronics Before Bed (Or In Bed At Bedtime)
Seriously, don't do this. It's a growing problem in America. Don't get sucked into it.
Blue lights from our electronics can cause brain activity to increase rather than decrease. This type of light has a higher concentration than natural light. It affects melatonin production which is how our body helps to induce sleep when it’s dark.
This disruption of melatonin is one of the things that keeps us alert longer and affects sleep. Eventually, this could affect our body’s natural sleep rhythm (known as a circadian rhythm), which is extremely harmful to our health and well-being!
7. Relax For 15 Minutes Before Bed
You need to take at least 15 minutes before bed to wind down. That means putting away your devices, turning down your lights, and letting go of the day’s worries.
De-stress. You may have to start doing new activities before bed such as reading, writing in a journal, or listening to relaxing music to help you get to sleep. If your sleeping patterns have been disrupted for a while, you may want to start this routine around an hour before bed until you get into a natural, new rhythm.
8. Go Easy On The Late-Night Liquids
Some people like to drink liquids before bed because they think they help them fall asleep faster. This can be true in some instances, but liquids can also disrupt your sleep in various ways. Generally speaking, drinking liquids keeps you awake when it's actively keeping your digestive processes engaged. Try to cut down at night.
Liquids can wake you in the middle of the night by causing you to wake up for the bathroom. If you’re a fan of alcohol before bed because of its soothing effect, be aware that once it wears off it can cause waking up in the middle of the night.
Never drink caffeine after noon. Anything later than that may cause you to have difficulties getting to sleep at night as the caffeine tends to take a while to fade.
9. Lower The Temperature
It’s difficult to get to sleep when you’re too warm at night. Lowering your body temperature is necessary for getting to sleep. You can achieve this by wearing lighter clothes to bed. Make sure you're dressed loosely and comfortably for bed.
Try lowering your air conditioner a few degrees in the summer or turning on a fan and opening your windows. If you like to sleep under covers, consider taking your heavy comforter off the bed at night and sleeping under just your loose sheets.
Bonus Tips & Tricks For Better Sleep
10. Go For A Walk Outside Earlier In The Day
Going for a brisk walk or a jog earlier in the day for the benefit of your health can also end up benefiting your sleep. Just like our other exercising suggestion, getting your body in gear with healthy fitness routines can help your body rest at night.
The healthier your body is, the easier it is able to navigate your sleep patterns and keep your sleeping cycle consistent and effective. Go for a walk, jog, or run, if you have the time, at any point earlier in the day, and it will help a lot later at bedtime.
11. Prepare A Warm Beverage
You've probably heard of hot toddies and warm milk, among the many heated late-night beverages that people consume when they want to relax and unwind before hitting the hay. Whatever you choose (we recommend alcohol-free options), try to consume it consistently in your routine, and early enough that it can help you out.
Warm drinks help to relax muscles and relieve tension when you are trying to wind down and get into sleep mode. For this reason, it's one of the best things you can do in those hours leading up to sleep. The key is relaxation before you pass out. Pick your favorite warm beverage or two, and start preparing them before bed.
12. Choose The Right Number & Type of Pillows
Coordinating the right assortment of pillows that you want and need for a better night's rest is absolutely critical to maintaining your comfort throughout the night.
It's not only important to select the right types of pillows that you need, but also to choose the most high-quality options so that you're getting the rest-supporting assistance that you actually require. Pillows can help you feel better every night.
If you've never tried a "body pillow" or a "leg pillow," give them a try. By placing pillows in strategic places, you can work with your personal body needs to be comfortable everywhere around your body, and sleep better in the process.
The Bottom Line
By getting into a healthy rhythm with your sleep and utilizing these tips and tricks, you'll find that you're more productive during your waking hours. You'll be able to process information better without sleep fog, and you won't find your energy tapering off early in the day and causing shifts in mood and productivity.
The best thing you can do is to support your sleep, your body, and your health.