Restful refreshing sleep – we all need it, yet study after study has shown that most people do not get the sleep they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Experts recommend that everyone get a minimum of 8 hours sleep, yet many people do not even approach that threshold.
If you are suffering from insomnia or waking up in the middle of the night, you need to take a look at your bedtime practices and look for ways to improve your sleep. There are some tried-and-true remedies the sleep deprived can use to get some shut-eye and wake refreshed and ready to go in the morning.
Put the Snooze Button on Hold
It may be tempting to keep hitting the snooze button and grabbing a few extra minutes of sleep, but that kind of sleep is far from restful. Oversleeping on a regular basis is actually counterproductive and could make your insomnia that much worse.
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day is one of the best ways to improve your sleep and keep insomnia at bay. There is a reason your parents set a firm bedtime when you were younger, and you should follow the same sleep strategy now that you are older.
Sleep Soundly No Matter Where You Are
Even if you sleep soundly in your own bed, travel can be a real challenge. Whether you are visiting your in-laws for the holidays, giving up your bed to a guest or heading out on a camping trip, night air beds can make your sleep more comfortable.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of a comfortable bed in the search for a good night’s sleep. Many portable beds are less than comfortable, so you will want to choose your sleep platform with care.
You might think that taking a nap during the day would help you sleep more soundly at night, but the research shows that is not the case. In fact, sleeping during the day can actually make your insomnia worse, so save your sleep for the time you need it most.
If you feel sleepy during the day, use physical activity to fight the lethargy and reinvigorate your body. Get up, stretch, go for a walk around the block or just do some jumping jacks. Exercise can do wonders for your sleep hygiene and your overall health.
Rest and Relax Before Bedtime
Establishing a bedtime routine is one of the best ways to sleep soundly and wake refreshed. Look for ways to relax and unwind before bedtime, whether it is a round of yoga or a few moments of quiet meditation. Avoiding caffeine in the evening will help you sleep better as well, so save that coffee for the morning.
Taking a warm bath just before bedtime is another great way to relax and get ready for a good night’s sleep. Feel free to enjoy a relaxing bubble bath, then grab your robe and get ready for some shut-eye.
Keep the Electronics Out of the Bedroom
If you use your smartphone as your night light, you could be disrupting your sleep patterns without even knowing it. The blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets, computers and other devices can disrupt sleep cycles and make it harder to fall asleep.
Just as importantly, that blue light can make getting back to sleep harder when you get up at night. Whether you get up to go to the bathroom or just wake on your own, you should avoid the temptation to check your email or browse social media. Just ignore the phone, or better yet put it away before you go to sleep.
Create a Comfortable Nest
If your bedroom is not comfortable, getting to sleep and staying asleep will be all but impossible. If you want to enjoy a good night’s sleep and wake relaxed and reinvigorated you first need to create a cozy nest for the night.
Before you turn in, make sure the thermostat is set to a comfortable level, the blinds or curtains are drawn to keep out the light and all your devices, including the TV, are turned off. Creating a quiet and comfortable environment is essential to your good sleep, so pay careful attention to the bedroom and your bedtime routine.
Don’t Drink to a Good Night’s Sleep
Many people think that a glass of wine at bedtime will help them sleep better, but the studies do not bear that out. You should avoid alcohol before bedtime and keep your drinking to a minimum.
Alcohol consumption can actually interfere with normal sleep patterns and leave you groggy the next day. You do not have to drink enough to get a hangover to feel the harmful aftereffects of alcohol, so put the wine glass down and get ready for a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is important, and the effects of sleep deprivation are wide-ranging and long-lasting. From car accidents to lost productivity, the lack of sleep can be damaging to your physical and emotional health. The tips above can help you get a good night’s sleep and leave your insomnia behind once and for all.
Melissa Hawkins works on reception at a sleep disorders center. Through talking with the people that step through the doors she has learned a lot about sleep and the tricks and tips people use to get them through the night. She shares these ideas in her articles in the hopes of helping others with sleeping problems.