How to end your restless nights? Here’s a comprehensive guide for better sleep at night.
# Build a sleep schedule.
- What time do you usually feel tired? Choose it as your bedtime and try to stick to the routine every day. Once your body has got enough rest, you will wake up naturally.
- We think weekends are for relaxation but it doesn’t mean we should sleep in. Two weekend days can mess the sleeping pattern you have maintained for a whole week.
- Napping is necessary if you have had a sleepless night. However, a short nap will be enough to get you through the day. If your nap lasts longer than half an hour, falling asleep at night will be a challenge.
- After dinner, you’re likely to feel drowsy with a full stomach. Let’s get off the comfy couch right away and keep yourself busy with some light activities. If you give in to the heavy eyelids, you can imagine yourself waking up in the middle of the night and having no way back to sleep.
If you have a habit of working out, you will be less sleepy during the day and more susceptible to sleep at night. The harder you exercise, the better. But even simple activities are better than nothing. Exercising is a habit. You will see its benefits in the long run, so be patient!
Timing is important. Exercise in the morning or afternoon will compel the metabolism and stimulate your system, which is all positive effects. However, late exercises will make your body restless. In this case, yoga or soft stretching will suffice.
# Keep your bedroom in good condition.
- Sleep cool. When the room is too hot or too cold, it’s impossible for you to sleep peacefully.
- Manage the noise. Noises might come from multiple sources: traffic, household items, neighbors. If you can’t afford a soundproof system, earplugs and sound machines also help.
- Ensure your bed is comfortable! It’s very important that you sleep on a mattress embracing your body and a pillow supporting your head. Nowadays, the products for bedding have quality materials, allergen resistance, temperature regulation, and so much more.
Tip: If your mattress is old (average mattress lifespan is around 7-10 years), you should buy a mattress topper to add more comfort to your mattress.
# Expose yourself to bright light.
Where does sleepiness come from? In the dark, your brain produces a hormone named melatonin which regulates the need for sleep in you and vice versa.
During the day:
- Try to give your body some sunlight. For example, you can have breakfast outdoor and enjoy your coffee near a sunny window. The sooner you do it after waking up, the better.
- If you can, spend more time outside. Taking a walk or exercising a little is good enough.
- Roll the blinds up and open the curtains!
- Watching TV at late hours isn’t healthy. The light suppressing your melatonin is one thing, the kind of programs you watch is also something to be careful about. Things that give you tension should be avoided.
- Before bedtime 1 – 2 hours, you should start putting your smartphone, tablet or laptop away. However, if you need to finish something important, you can minimize the disruptive impact by installing a light-altering software or keeping the brightness low.
- Equip your bedroom with thick curtains if needed. The room should be dark or at least dimly lit.
# Alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals must be gone!
- No big meal allowed at night. Heavy, spicy or acidic food will churn your stomach up.
- Limit alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. They have similar effects that will interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Reduce sugary food and refined carbs.
# Wind down.
- Try a breathing exercise: lay down, one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, relax, inhale through your nose then exhale through your mouth. The hands will indicate whether you are doing it right or wrong.
- Practice a body scan exercise: lay down with all fours stretched and relaxed, concentrate on your breathing, imagine the air is flowing to your foot and focus on it for a few seconds, shift the “scanning” to every part of your torso and pay more attention to the tensed spots.
- The methods to relieve yourself from stress vary greatly. There are many more you can try: take a warm bath, listen to an audiobook, play some soft music.
# Distract yourself.
- Free your mind from thoughts. It’s not easy, for sure. Let’s start by focusing on your body and thinking of the simplest things, maybe a syllable.
- Do something peaceful. If you can’t fall asleep after a while, get up and try a non-stimulating activity. Reading is a good choice.
- What if you have some concern, and it’s preventing you from sleeping? Write it down on a piece of paper so you won’t forget it the next day but you can get it off your mind for now.
# Seek medical treatments.
If you must, don’t hesitate to do it. Suffering sleeplessness for a long time means you are facing insomnia. It will leave a serious negative impact on your productivity, emotional control, your skin and weight, and energy. But even if you decide to see a doctor, these tips are still something you should consider following. They aim to create a healthy schedule that will benefit you long-term.