It’s no secret that sleep is critical to good physical and mental health. Humans typically spend up to a third of our lives dozing. What is sometimes lost, however, is the importance of high-quality sleep. It’s critical to learn how to sleep better to fully reap the rewards of rest.
If you struggle to function in the morning, finding the idea of placing your feet on the floor unappealing, discover how to sleep better. Six hours of high-quality sleep will improve your physical and emotional well-being more than eight or nine hours of substandard slumber. Naturally though, a full eight hours of superior sleep will leave you feeling on top of the world!
Here are 5 tips to teach you how to sleep better, providing the greatest chance of waking up refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Get into a Routine
The first step to discovering how to sleep better is establishing routine. You may not have had a bedtime since you were a child, but this is worth reintroducing. Your body will thank you for your consistency.
If you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, you will enjoy superior sleep. Tie this routine in with your body’s natural circadian rhythms. Spend as much time in natural daylight as you can, especially during the lighter summer months.
If you need a nap during the day, limit this to 30 minutes. A power nap can sharpen the mind, but anything longer will interfere with your nocturnal sleep schedule. While it’s important to listen to your body, try to push through any mid-afternoon energy lapses.
Start to Wind Down an Hour Before Bedtime
Getting quality sleep is not as simple as climbing into bed and turning out the light. You need to start preparing for sleep around an hour before you retire for the night. This way, your body and mind will be ready to enter a restful state.
Within this 60-minute period, do not eat or drink anything. If you worry about being hungry in the night, enjoy a banana an hour before bed. These fruits are packed with amino acids that convert to serotonin and melatonin. These hormones relax the body, leading to deep and restful sleep.
Of greater importance is avoiding screens an hour before bed. Artificial light can play havoc with the brain. If you’re keen to learn how to sleep better, do your research during daylight. An hour before bed is time to turn off cellphones, tablets and laptops and even the television.
Create an Appropriate Environment
If you’re wondering how to sleep better, ask yourself a simple question. Is your bed – and bedroom – actually comfortable? Your environment is critical to providing the opportunity to rest well.
To give yourself the greatest possible chance of enjoying high quality sleep…
- Tidy your bedroom, keeping it neat and uncluttered
- Ensure your mattress and pillow provide appropriate comfort. If you’re feeling aches and pains in your back or neck, you likely require greater support
- Ensure the room is quiet, especially if you’re a light sleeper. If you live close to a source of noise, such as a main street or thoroughfare, consider the use of a white noise machine to block out background clamor
- Make the room as dark as possible. Blackout blinds are more effective than curtains for this. The body produces melatonin when surrounded by darkness, and this hormone provokes feelings of sleepiness
- Ensure the room is at an appropriate temperature. While coziness is appealing, excessive warmth is the enemy of sleep. The optimum room temperature for sleeping is below 67 degrees Fahrenheit
Don’t Lay Awake
Part of sleeping better involves accepting that, sometimes, you’ll struggle to doze off. In these circumstances, don’t remain in bed, tossing and turning. You’ll just grow frustrated, which makes sleep even more elusive.
Instead, get up and leave the bedroom for a spell. Head down the stairs and drink a glass of water. Read a book or newspaper. Write down anything that is bothering you in a notebook. Remember though, no screens!
The idea is to separate your bed from associations with insomnia. The more time you spend in bed struggling to sleep, the less likely you are to relax. You can return to bed after 5, 10 of 15 minutes and try to sleep again. You’re likelier to doze off after taking this brief time out.
If you are still unsuccessful, repeat the process above. This may be frustrating, but you will not be sleeping anyway. By staying active, you avoid forging unwelcome associations between wakefulness and bed in your mind.
Meditate and Practice Breathing Exercises
Perhaps the most important rule when it comes to learning how to sleep better is relaxing your mind. An effective way to achieve this is through meditation and/or breathing exercises.
One of the most common explanations for disturbed sleep is a racing mind. Even if you are lucky enough to nod off, a busy brain will remain in REM sleep. This means intense dreams, and likely nightmares if you are feeling stressed. Your body and mind require deep sleep to truly benefit.
Investigate breathing exercises to relax the body, and meditation to clear the mind. This will leave you feel wholly at peace by bedtime, ready to drift effortlessly into sleep.
If you follow this advice, you’ll soon find yourself enjoying deeper, superior sleep. This will benefit you significantly in the short- and longer-term. A good night’s sleep will make anything seem possible, as you’ll soon see for yourself!