The sun has set, your eyes are heavy, and all signs point towards you falling asleep. You get into bed for what you hope will be a restful evening so you can be energized in the morning, but instead, you’re left tossing and turning all night. Not only do you wake up the next day groggy, but this vicious cycle continues night after night.
Lack of sleep impairs your energy levels, but it can also have serious health consequences; therefore, you must get to the bottom of your sleep predicament.
There are many reasons why people have trouble sleeping, from sleep apnea to insomnia; sleep conditions can have you awake throughout the night. One reason you may not be getting proper sleep has a straightforward solution that you can try tonight…
Common Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Sleep
Having a TV/Computer/Phone/Work in the Bedroom
Many people love having a tv in the bedroom and consistently fall asleep watching it at night. But this is a big no-no, even if you don’t suffer from sleep issues. Anything that interferes both physically and mentally should be kept out of the bedroom at least an hour before sleep time. This includes cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
Letting Light In
Although it is nice to wake up with the sunrise in the morning, leaving your curtains open all night long could interfere with your sleep. Darkness is vital for regulating circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. Even the smallest amount of light from a streetlamp outside can disrupt sleep by reducing melatonin levels.
You Don’t Clear Your Cerebral Space before Going to Bed
Having a busy mind is one way to ensure you will have a hard time falling asleep. Before going to sleep, if you have things racing through your mind, sleep experts suggest doing a “brain dump” as part of your evening routine. By writing down everything you are thinking about, you can help settle your mind and stop going over it as you try to fall asleep.
Your Body Has Not Been Prepped for Sleep
Many people prep their body before being active by stretching, so why wouldn’t you prep before sleep? If you are still holding onto tension from your day, your body will not be able to rest. Make time in your evening routine for activities that restore circulation, improve flexibility, and help lymphatic drainage within the body.
Not Using Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are becoming more popular lately, but they are not just a fad. A recent study showed that weighted blankets could help with anxiety and sleep by creating pressure exerted over the entire body. It lets your body relax by positively affecting the nervous system, essentially mimicking the feelings of getting a big hug.
You Try to Bank Sleep Hours
Many people make the mistake of thinking they have a “sleep bank” where they can deposit 8-9 hours one night and then make a withdrawal when you only get 4 hours another night. Each night of sleep is important. Try to get an equal number of hours a night to keep your circadian rhythm in order.
Proper Room Temperature Improves Sleep
Proper room temperature improves sleep Men and women have many differences, including body temperature. Generally, women are more sensitive to changes in temperature and can become colder more quickly than men. What is comfortable for a man may be frigid for a woman, or what is comfortable for a woman may be too warm for a man. This is largely because women produce less body heat than men, thus making them feel colder.
Temperature can play a large role in your sleep quality, and research from the National Sleep Foundation suggests that the perfect temperature to sleep at is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). Although this number may appear low, it’s important to note that our body temperature naturally lowers while we sleep.
To wake up, our bodies increase in temperature, but if the bedroom is too hot and our body is warming up, the heat can interfere with our body’s natural temperature adjustment. When this occurs, we are left restless, which contributes to insomnia.
If you think 65 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold, don’t stress – this is simply a ballpark number to achieve. Researchers suggest you can play with temperatures between 65 to 69 degrees for a more comfortable sleep. And heck, if it’s too cold for you, it’s a good excuse for you to cuddle more with your partner!
How to Improve Your Sleep
As mentioned, poor sleep can leave you with poor health, so you must be well-rested for at least seven hours a night. Aside from making some temperature changes, here are some other tips to improve your sleep.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine or nicotine prior to sleep.
- Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.
- Create a pre-sleep routine.
- Avoid using electronics prior to or in bed.
- Sleep when you’re tired.
- Don’t stare at a clock when attempting to sleep.
- Ensure there is natural light in the room to wake you up naturally.
- Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
- Avoid napping close to the bed, or don’t nap at all.
- Don’t consume a large or heavy meal close to sleep.
- Don’t consume fluid too close to sleep, as it will wake you up to urinate.
- Exercise earlier in the day.
To feel your best, you need good quality sleep. If you’ve tried these tips and still have trouble getting a good night’s rest, you may have another condition that is preventing you from getting the sleep you deserve. Pick up on symptoms like a sore jaw, headache, or daytime fatigue and speak to your doctor. They may suggest a sleep test to get to the root of your sleep troubles.
Home Remedy for Better Sleep at Night
This type of mediation consists of steady, slow breathing while sitting quietly. By observing breath, body, feeling, thoughts, and sensations, you can help to reduce stress and boost immunity. One study from 2011 found that meditation significantly improved insomnia and overall sleep patterns. So, give it a try before bedtime. Start with 5 minutes and work up to 15 minutes of mediation before sleep to reap the most benefits.
While many people know that the light from their smartphone may interfere with sleep, they often forget about the bathroom light, nightlight, or light from the street lamp shining through the window. Try to make your room as dark as possible when sleeping, and if you wake up at night, try not to turn on any lights.
Repeating a positive affirmation or mantra can help to calm and focus the mind. It is believed that mantras can produce feelings of relaxation, which can go a long way for those who may suffer with sleep problems. If you are not sure what a mantra is, start by looking online and one that resonates with you.
As mentioned above, it is essential to keep your room cooler to get a good night’s sleep. The ideal temperature should be between 65 and 69, but you can always start warmer and slowly reduce the temperature each night to get used to the cooler air. For women who are experiencing hot flashes due to menopause, the room should be kept as cool as possible, and cotton or breathable fabrics should be worn to bed.
Many studies have shown that yoga has a substantial effect on sleep quality. Choose a style that focuses on breath work instead of complicated physical movements. This will help calm the mind and remove stress.
Massage therapy has long been found to benefit people with insomnia by improving daytime dysfunction and sleep quality. It doesn’t always need to be done by a professional. Self-massage or some gentle massage from a friend or partner is also beneficial to help calm your mind and ease stress.
Researchers are not entirely sure why, but they have discovered that physical activity can improve sleep. It has been found that moderate aerobic exercise can boost the amount of slow-wave or deep sleep you get. But be aware of timing. Exercise can release chemicals in the body that keep you awake, so try to avoid working out within two hours of bedtime.