Follow these steps to feel rejuvenated like never before
Sleep is important because it allows the body to rest and repair itself. It is also thought to be important for brain function, as it is during sleep that the brain consolidates memories and processes information.
Here are ten ways to help you get a perfect night’s sleep:
#1 Stick to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. To help achieve this:
- Avoid sleeping in on the weekends. While it can be tempting to sleep in on the weekends, it can make it harder to go to bed at your regular bedtime on Sunday night and can disrupt your sleep schedule for the week.
- Get exposure to natural light during the day. This can help to regulate your body’s internal clock and improve your sleep quality.
- Avoid long naps. While a short nap (less than 30 minutes) can help to improve mood and alertness, longer naps can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at your regular bedtime.
#2 Create a comfortable sleep environment by keeping the bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. These may help with keeping your bedroom dark:
- Use heavy curtains or blinds to block out light from windows.
- Consider using a sleep mask to cover your eyes.
- Use a nightlight or low-wattage bulb in the bathroom to help you see your way around without turning on bright lights.
#3 Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals close to bedtime. This is pretty straightforward.
#4 Relax before bed by reading a book or taking a warm bath. Here are some addition tips for relaxing before bed:
- Practice deep breathing exercises. Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This can help to relax your body and calm your mind.
- Listen to calming music or white noise. Soft, slow-paced music or the sound of white noise can help to drown out any external noise and create a relaxing atmosphere.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body, starting with your toes and working your way up to the top of your head.
- Use essential oils. Certain essential oils, such as lavender, chamomile, and valerian root, have a calming effect and can be used in an oil diffuser or applied topically to the skin.
#5 Exercise regularly to help tire the body out. The best time to exercise for sleep is generally in the late afternoon or early evening. This is because exercise can help to tire the body out and reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep at night. Here are three tips for getting the most out of your pre-sleep exercise routine:
- Avoid exercising too close to bedtime. It is generally recommended to finish your workout at least a few hours before you go to bed, as the endorphins released during exercise can act as a stimulant and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Choose a low-impact, calming exercise. Gentle activities such as yoga or stretching can help to relax the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep.
- Consider the intensity of your workout. While moderate-intensity exercise has been shown to improve sleep, high-intensity workouts close to bedtime may have the opposite effect.
#6 Use comfortable bedding and a comfortable mattress. Here are three tips for finding comfortable bedding:
- Consider the materials. Look for bedding made of natural fibers such as cotton or linen, as they are generally more breathable and comfortable than synthetic materials.
- Think about thread count. A higher thread count generally means a softer and more luxurious feel, but it is not the only factor to consider. The type of fiber and the way the fabric is woven can also affect the feel and durability of the bedding.
- Try before you buy. If possible, try out the bedding in person before purchasing it to see how it feels and whether it meets your comfort preferences. If shopping online, be sure to read reviews from other customers to get an idea of the quality and comfort of the bedding.
#7 Avoid screens (e.g. television, computer, phone) before bedtime, as the blue light they emit can interfere with sleep. Here are four additional tips for avoiding screens before bedtime:
- Create a screen-free zone in your bedroom. Make a habit of keeping screens out of the bedroom, or at least away from your bed, to reduce the temptation to use them before sleep.
- Set a bedtime reminder. Many phones and devices have a bedtime reminder feature that can help to remind you to unplug and wind down before sleep. You can customize the reminder to go off at a certain time each night.
- Find alternative activities. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, try finding other activities to do before bed, such as reading a book, writing in a journal, or listening to music.
- Keep screens out of reach. If you have trouble resisting the temptation to use your phone or other screens before bed, try keeping them out of reach or in another room while you sleep.
#8 Try to clear your mind before sleep by writing down your worries and concerns in a journal. These additional five tips should help with this:
- Keep a journal by your bedside. Having a dedicated journal or notebook for writing down your thoughts and worries can make it easier to do this before bed.
- Write down your worries as soon as you think of them. If a worry comes to mind during the day, make a note of it in your journal so you don’t have to try to remember it later.
- Set aside a specific time for worry journaling. Choose a time just before bed to sit down and write out your worries. This can help to clear your mind and prepare you for sleep.
- Consider using prompts. If you have trouble coming up with things to write about, try using prompts such as “Today I worried about…” or “I’m feeling anxious about…” to help get you started.
- Be as specific as possible. Rather than just writing “I’m worried,” try to be specific about what is causing your worry. This can help to clarify your thoughts and make it easier to come up with solutions.
#9 Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation. Here are three additional relaxation tips for bedtime:
- Practice mindfulness. This involves focusing your attention on the present moment and letting go of any worries about the past or future. You can try simple mindfulness exercises such as focusing on your breath or a mantra.
- Use visualization techniques. Close your eyes and try to picture a peaceful scene in your mind, such as a beach or a mountain view. Imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of this place as vividly as possible.
- Try aromatherapy. Certain essential oils, such as lavender, chamomile, and valerian root, have a calming effect and can be used in an oil diffuser or applied topically to the skin.
- Engage in a hobby or activity that you find relaxing. This could be something like knitting, coloring, or playing a musical instrument.
#10 If you are still having trouble sleeping, consider talking to a doctor or a sleep specialist. There are several reasons why you might want to talk to a sleep specialist:
- If you are experiencing chronic sleep problems that are disrupting your daily life. A sleep specialist can help to identify the cause of your sleep problems and recommend treatment options.
- If you have a medical condition that is affecting your sleep. Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, can cause sleep problems and may require specialized treatment.
- If you have tried self-help measures and are still having trouble sleeping. A sleep specialist can offer more targeted advice and treatment options if you have been unable to resolve your sleep problems on your own.
- If you are taking medications that are affecting your sleep. A sleep specialist can help you to manage the side effects of your medications and suggest alternative treatment options if necessary.
- It’s important to note that not everyone needs to see a sleep specialist. However, if you have been struggling with sleep problems for an extended period of time, it may be worth considering seeking professional help.