How To Get A Better Sleep
Prepare for Bed
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to maintaining your health and wellbeing. To help ensure a restful night of sleep, it is important to prepare for bed each night. This includes everything from winding down and creating a comfortable environment to avoiding stimulants late in the day.
Let’s take a closer look at how to prepare for bed and help ensure a restful night of sleep:
Establish a consistent sleep schedule
Finding the right sleep schedule can be a tricky endeavor, but it is essential to your wellbeing. To begin establishing a consistent sleep schedule, the best place to start is to establish regular bedtimes and rise times.
Regular bedtimes are important because they teach your body when to begin winding down in anticipation of sleep. Decide on an appropriate bedtime for yourself by considering when you need to wake up for work or school, making sure you get enough sleep per night (typically 7-9 hours for adults), and avoiding late nights during the week. Rise times are equally important in ensuring consistent restful nights of sleep; aim for the same wake-up time each day (yes, even on weekends!)
Finding that balance between sufficient rest and morning commitments can be challenging but is essential for creating a balanced and consistent sleeping routine.
You can further enhance your regularity in going to bed by having a nighttime routine that signals your body it’s time to unwind; this could include bathing/showering, dimming lights, putting on comfortable clothing as well as reading or relaxation techniques like breathwork or gentle stretches.
Being mindful of natural light exposure during the day will also help naturally regulate your circadian rhythm (a 24 hour internal clock that influences physical behavior). Natural light exposure during the day helps us stay alert while limiting bright light before bed keeps us from getting too excited when we should be winding down.
Following these steps towards establishing a rhythmic natural daily routine with intentional behavior cues before bed will put you on track towards better quality restorative slep each night!
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are substances that can interfere with sleep – both in terms of quantity and quality. Caffeine is so widely available today that it might seem like an impossible task to avoid it. But, it is key to preparaing for bed. It impacts the body in several ways – not only by acting as a stimulant, but also by affecting brain activity, hormone production and anxiety levels. As such, avoiding caffeine after noon or so ensures that your body’s natural scientific rhythm has time to prepare for a restful night’s sleep without disruption.
Similarly, alcohol has sedative properties that can make you fall asleep quickly; however, it can also have a negative impact on the overall quality of your sleep. Drinking alcohol disrupts the patterns of sleep cycles and prevents deep restfulness from occurring. That being said, those who drink should do so earlier in the day rather than late at night. Careful consumption is best when trying to achieve a good nights rest – even if you feel sleepy after indulging in alcohol it’s better to abstain right before bed instead of relying on its possibly disruptive effects during slumber.
Regular physical activity is a necessary part of staying healthy. Exercise is beneficial to both the body and the mind because it allows you to release stress and tension, increase endorphins, and help you to relax after a long day. It also allows your body to repair itself and heal more quickly.
Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine can help improve sleep quality by enabling your body to relax more easily into sleep. It should be noted that until one’s body adjusts, exercising late at night can have an adverse effect on sleep as well – try an earlier block of time in the day if possible. Additionally, taking a calming stroll in the evening can be helpful in preparing for bedtime; think:
- slow pace
- controlled breathing
- peaceful mindfulness
Avoid heavy meals before bed
Eating heavy meals or drinks with a significant amount of caffeine or sugar close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep and may disrupt sleep. It is advisable to avoid consumption of large meals, spicy foods and alcohol before going to bed.
Caffeine should especially be avoided five hours before bedtime even if that means avoiding coffee, tea, cola and chocolate too. Sugary snacks are also not recommended as they can lead to quick energy spikes causing disturbances in your sleep cycle.
Consider having light snacks like some warm milk or herbal tea an hour before you plan on going to bed for better sleep quality.
Create a Relaxing Environment
Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be a challenge. One of the best ways to ensure a restful night’s sleep is to create an environment that is conducive to relaxation. Creating a soothing and calming atmosphere in your bedroom can help you wind down, calm your mind and body, and slip into a peaceful slumber.
Let’s explore some ways you can create a relaxing environment in your bedroom:
Keep your bedroom dark
Having a relaxing and dark environment to sleep in is essential for getting a good night’s rest. When your environment is conducive to calming your mind and body, you can more easily drift off into dreamland. Just as sunlight helps energize us during the day, darkness can provide the right conditions for our body to prepare for sleep.
Dark-colored window shades or room-darkening drapes can reduce light exposure when it’s time to sleep. If insufficient light still sneaks in through the windows, try using an eye mask or blackout blinds. Keeping certain electronics out of your bedroom may also help you relax at night, as they can easily be distractions from creating a peaceful atmosphere. Finally, make sure that even small sources of artificial light are turned off before trying to fall asleep; soft blinking lights from devices such as TVs, clocks, and charging stations may impact your ability to go into deeper stages of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
Use white noise or soothing music
Creating a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom can be key to getting a better night’s sleep. White noise and soothing music can help reduce stress and anxiety by creating a calming atmosphere in your bedroom.
White noise is created to drown out the bustle of our busy lives. It is a continuous consistent sound that helps to eliminate noise distractions and create an environment with background noise you can sleep easily in. White noise can also be beneficial for blocking out environmental noises such as loud music or city traffic that may disturb sleep.
Soothing music has similar benefits as white noise in bedroom relaxation – helping to mask distractions like snoring, barking dogs, creaking floors, etc. While there is no single type of music that works best for everyone, soft classical music may be particularly effective for some individuals due to the slow tempo, repetitive melodies and minor tones which help create a peaceful atmosphere without being too stimulating. Whether you prefer white noise or soft music, both will help reduce the likelihood of awakenings throughout the night so you can get the quality rest you deserve!
Invest in a comfortable mattress
When choosing a mattress, it’s important to consider your body and what type of mattress best suits your needs. There are several things to consider when buying a mattress such as firmness, size, and material.
Firmness is one of the most important elements when choosing a mattress – too soft and you can end up with back and neck pain; too firm and your body isn’t fully supported. If you tend to sleep on your side, you’ll want to look for something that contours around your shape. If you’re more of a stomach sleeper, then something more firm will be more suitable for providing support in the hips and chest.
Size is an essential factor too as it affects both comfortability and health benefits. If you’re sleeping alone on a Queen or King-sized bed all by yourself, then the extra width won’t do much good – however if two people are sharing the bed then a larger mattresses provides enough space for each person to sleep soundly without bothering one another.
The type of material used in the mattress is another key factor in helping to create the perfect relaxing environment as well as achieving proper spinal alignment while sleeping. Generally there are two options: traditional inner spring or foam mattresses; both have their pros an cons so it’s important to research what will benefit best for your physical health before making a purchase decision.
Reducing stress is one of the most effective ways to get better sleep. Stress can affect our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors which can contribute to difficulty sleeping. Taking steps to reduce stress can help improve the quality of your sleep.
In this section, we’ll discuss how reducing stress can help with sleep and how to go about doing it.
Practice relaxation techniques
A practice based on the principles of mindfulness, relaxation techniques can help you reduce stress and promote better sleep. This practice encourages calming thoughts and behaviors, including deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and visualization.
Deep breathing exercises may take the form of slow breathes in and out through your nose or even using a mantra. During progressive muscle relaxation, you focus your awareness on different body parts while alternately contracting and relaxing them to release tension. With visualization, you attempt to construct mental images that are peaceful or calming as a way to create inner peace.
You don’t need to set aside hours every day for mindfulness; even just 15 minutes a day can help achieve better sleep habits. Choose a comfortable space where you can relax undisturbed, then follow these simple instructions:
- Find a comfortable position to sit or lie down in; it’s helpful if you close your eyes and loosen any tight clothing.
- Focus on deep breathing for five minutes – inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling out of your mouth with each breath as you count up from 1 to 10.
- Relax all the areas of your body in sequence from top-down – start from your scalp down to the tips of your toes. As each part is relaxed intend for yourself the thought “my scalp is now relaxed…my forehead is now relaxed…etc” until each part has been released.
- Spend at least five minutes visualizing pleasant imagery – think about happy memories that bring peace like being at the beach or playing with animals.
- Continue deep breathing exercises until your body naturally drifts off into sleep – remember this will take practice but committing 10-15 minutes every day will guarantee success after only a few weeks.
Avoid electronics before bed
Research has shown that exposing yourself to artificial light at night, such as from mobile phones, computers and televisions, can disrupt your body clock and can interfere with the quality of your sleep. To make sure you benefit from a good night’s rest, it’s important to switch off all your electronic devices at least two hours before bed.
If you find that difficult, try setting an early electronic curfew for yourself – for example, no electronics after 8 p.m. During this time, focus on winding down by practicing yoga or stretching exercises or finding other activities that will help relax your body and mind before heading to bed. You may find that reading a book or listening to calming music will help put you in the right frame of mind for sleep.
Write down your worries
Writing down what is bothering you can be one of the most helpful techniques to reduce stress and improve sleep. When bedtime rolls around and your mind is running a million miles per second, it’s hard to switch off and settle into a peaceful slumber. Allowing yourself to write down your worries helps to clear your mind and put things into perspective.
Getting all of those racing thoughts out onto paper gives you an objective view of your problem from outside looking in. Writing can help reveal solutions or open up new ways of thinking that may have been previously unseen. This also means that when it comes time for bed, you won’t be tied up in knots trying to remember everything on your mind as it’s written down safely for review later. Additionally, writing about a stressful event gives you psychological distance from the issue, allowing you to gain a better understanding without becoming overwhelmed by emotion.
Although writing out your worries can seem daunting at times, giving yourself the permission to explore solutions truly taps into creativity and helps address issues with a clear head. Some tips include:
- Setting aside regular time each day specifically for jotting down thoughts and feelings that are causing mental unrest or pressure – this will start to steady the racing thoughts as well as help support sounder sleeping patterns with controlled relaxation practices at night before bedtime.
Improve Your Sleep Habits
Getting a better sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. It can reduce stress, improve concentration, and boost your mood. However, a good night’s sleep doesn’t come easy. With a few tweaks to your routine and lifestyle, you can have the slumber of your dreams.
Here are some tips to help you improve your sleep habits:
- Tip 1
- Tip 2
- Tip 3
- Tip 4
- Tip 5
Avoid naps during the day
Regular naps during the day can disrupt nighttime sleep. Try to avoid taking naps if possible, especially after 3 pm. Instead, try spending time outdoors in the bright sunlight, which will help keep your circadian rhythms in check and allow you to get better sleep at night.
If you must nap during the day, limit it to a maximum of 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the afternoon or early evening. You may also want to experiment with power naps (short 10-15 minute snoozes) rather than longer ones, or even find an alternative activity such as going for a walk or reading a book.
Take a hot bath or shower
A hot bath or shower before bed can help in several ways. It can help your body to adjust its temperature, creating a cool and comfortable environment for sleeping. Your body temperature drops during sleep, so taking a dip earlier in the evening helps your body understand it’s time for bed. Additionally, the warmth of a bath promotes relaxation, which can soothe and refresh tired muscles.
Add some essential oils or a relaxing scent like lavender to enhance the calming effect. Be mindful not to take an exceptionally hot bath, as that can actually reduce sleep quality due to overheating the room temperature.
Try a light snack before bed
Before you go to bed, it’s a good idea to try eating a light snack. A light snack before bed can help your body relax and better prepare for a restful night’s sleep. Eating foods that contain tryptophan, such as rice and dairy products, can help your body produce melatonin which is important for regulating sleep cycles.
Additionally, healthy carbs like whole grains and fruit can provide your body with energy it needs to help control blood sugar levels, making it easier for you to fall asleep. Avoiding caffeine as well as high-fat or processed foods may also improve sleep quality. Eating approximately an hour before bedtime is usually best when trying to get the most out of these types of snacks.
Seek Professional Help
Getting a good night’s rest is important for both physical and mental health, and sometimes, it takes more than just practicing self-care. If you have been struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it may be time to seek professional help.
A sleep specialist or mental health professional can assess your sleep patterns and recommend interventions to help you get better sleep. In this section, we will explore the benefits of seeking professional help to improve sleep, and how to find the right professional to help you.
Talk to your doctor
If you are having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep and have tried several different strategies without success, it may be time to seek professional help. Talking to your doctor is the first step in determining why you are having trouble sleeping. Your doctor can evaluate your medical history and possible underlying factors influencing your sleep, such as stress, depression, or any health issues that could be causing disruption in your sleep patterns.
In addition to talking with your doctor, there are other healthcare professionals who specialize in sleep therapies that can determine if conditions like insomnia or snoring problems are to blame for poor sleep. These professionals include:
- Board certified sleep physicians;
- Respiratory therapists;
- Psychiatrists; and
- Behavioral therapists specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is an evidence-based approach proven to help improve sleep quality.
Your doctor can also provide resources for rehabilitation centers and support groups where patients can work with specialists on assessing underlying causes of sleep disruption and recommending individualized treatments such as optimal bedtime routines or relaxation techniques. Ultimately, talking to your doctor about any sleeping problem will enable you to develop personalized strategies for better restorative rest so you can lead an overall healthier life.
Consider cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people overcome insomnia and other sleep disturbances. In CBT, a coach works with a person to identify their underlying thought patterns, find solutions to problems that interfere with sleep, and develop more positive habits that help improve sleep. The goal of this type of therapy is to create new behaviors and thoughts patterns that can increase relaxation before sleeping, as well as improve the overall quality of life.
Say a person experiences unhelpful thoughts when trying to go to sleep such as “I’m never going to be able to fall asleep tonight” – CBT would intervene by helping them identify the sources of these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones such as “I’m doing my best and I can still get some rest.” The therapist may also provide guidance on maintaining healthy routines or implementing relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga before bedtime.
Additionally, the therapist may suggest other lifestyle changes that could help improve sleep such as:
- Getting enough exercise during the day
- Setting specific times for going to bed and waking up every morning.
Invest in a sleep tracker
Investing in a sleep tracker is one way to get a better understanding of your sleep pattern and habits. Devices like Fitbits, watches or smart phones can all be used to measure sleep quality, duration and approximate time spent in each stage of the sleep cycle. By having a hard copy of your sleeping patterns, you are able to notice any irregularities and make changes if necessary. It may also help identify if you have a sleep disorder like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnoea.
Additionally, tracking your sleeping habits will give you valuable insight into how good quality sleep can improve energy levels, productivity and mental wellbeing throughout the day.