Life

How to Get Better Sleep

Have you ever experienced getting the recommended eight hours of sleep (or more), only to end up still feeling groggy, disoriented and tired when you wake up? These scenarios are very common for many adults, and are caused by a wide number of factors.

Sleep is the body’s way of recharging itself after a day of exhausting activities. It is good to note that it is not the number of hours of sleep that energizes you – it is the quality of it that matters.

A good night’s rest will allow you to feel active and lively the next day, improving your performance at work or school. Here are some tips to help you sleep better throughout the night.

Get enough sleep

This may be near-impossible due to heavy workloads and tight schedules, but sleeping for at least seven to eight hours (depending on your need) is needed for your brain to function better the next day. Lack of sleep may lead to poor judgment and health risks.

Manage your time wisely and try to finish all the work during the day. This way, you do not have to worry about work at night and go to bed earlier than usual.

Your sleep environment matters

blonde woman woke up

Your environment is a major factor that can affect your sleep quality. The place you sleep in should be a haven for rest. This way, you can condition the mind to stop overthinking and start relaxing the moment you step inside your bedroom.

Conditioning the mind to refer to the bedroom as a place for sleeping may be difficult if you are frequently doing the other stuff. Instead of thinking about sleep, your mind may associate your bedroom with other things such as studying, working, and planning.

What you can do is to move all other activities outside the bedroom. Remove the clutter, take out the TV and computer or at least keep all activities away from your bed. Your mind will gradually acclimatize to the bedroom as a place for rest and relaxation, making it easier for you to fall asleep.

Make sure that your bed is comfortable to sleep on and that your room temperature is optimal, too!

Establish a routine

Establish a sleep routine that you can follow every day. This can start with a warm cup of milk or chamomile tea, followed by your beauty regimen and then twenty minutes of meditation or reading a few pages of a book.

Following a specific routine before bedtime can help you relax. It also conditions your mind, so that as soon as you start it, you already know it is time for bed.

Get ready at least one hour before

Go to bed at least one hour before your scheduled bedtime, so it will be easy for your mind to settle down and relax. Use this time for your bedtime routine, too. Try to avoid watching television and playing games during that time, as this may stimulate the mind even more.

Use the time to relax, meditate and ponder on the day’s events. Make it a rule to stop using all electronics at least one hour before the scheduled bedtime.

Avoid eating and drinking before going to bed

beautiful blonde woman eating strawberries

Some people like to eat snacks in bed – this can be unfavorable since eating before bedtime may lead to heartburn and indigestion. Laying down flat on the bed may cause the acids in the stomach to rise, causing discomfort. Avoid junk food and alcohol before bedtime.

If you really must eat, try snacking on small portions of cereals and toast and drink water instead of juice or soda. Some people may say that alcohol helps them to sleep soundly, but studies show otherwise. Drinking alcohol before bedtime can disrupt your sleeping pattern and can cause sleep problems, instead.

Exercise

Studies show that people who exercise each day report better sleep during the night than those who do not do any type of exercise at all. Doing activities such as yoga, walking, jogging, swimming and weight lifting may aid you in sleeping better at night.

If you do not have time to exercise, do not worry. Moving around at home or in the office can already do wonders. Studies show that people who tend to walk around in the office sleep better than those who are stationary and stay in the same spot all day.

Remember not to overexert yourself when exercising. Doing so may lead to fatigue and stress, which may keep you up all night instead. Avoid exercising during bedtime, too, since this may raise your activity level and keep you up instead of winding you down.

Cut back on caffeine

Busy people who sleep less than they should each night rely on caffeine to give them a boost during the day. Sure, caffeine – which is found in teas, colas and coffees – may keep you away during the day.

However, it may have a negative impact on you if you are looking forward to a better sleep at night. This is because it stays in the system for twelve hours, well enough until sleep time.

For better sleep, reduce your caffeine intake. Keep your drinks in the morning and avoid them in the afternoon and evening, especially close to your bedtime.

Drink warm milk – or eat a turkey sandwich

We often hear people say, “If you can’t sleep, drink a warm cup of milk.” Studies show that there is truth to that statement. Milk contains the amino acid called L-tryptophan, which is well-documented to produce niacin, a B-vitamin.

L-tryptophan also induces the production of melatonin and serotonin, which calms our body and regulates sleep. For lactose-intolerant individuals, some protein food such as turkey also contains L-tryptophan.

Eat a light turkey sandwich at least two hours before bedtime in order to see its effects.

Nap – or don’t

beautiful woman sleeping

A quick nap during the day is a great way to boost your energy. However, this may be a problem if you suffer from insomnia. If you really must nap, do so in the early afternoon, sometime after lunch. Limit your nap to thirty minutes only.

Keep the Clock Away

You are up late and you’re staring at the clock, noting how late already is and how important it is for you to fall asleep already. You can actually do yourself a favor by turning that clock away. Looking at the clock at a very late hour can stress you more.

Keeping the clock away from your bedside also prevents you from easily hitting the snooze buton in the morning.

The tips mentioned above are things that you can do to help improve your sleep. Try all – or a combination – of these things first for a few weeks to see the difference they make on your quality of sleep.

About the author

Justine R

On an eternal quest for happiness, Justine tries to lead a positive lifestyle by giving back to the universe and following natural approaches to parenting, health, food and beauty. When she's not on the beach, she keeps herself fit (and sane) by running and doing yoga.

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