Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for your health. It recharges your mind and body, leaving you ready to take on the day (or even better, the next day).
However, getting sleep at night can be difficult with all the distractions in our lives: busy schedules, television shows we haven’t seen, and the constant barrage of social media.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “women need about 7-9 hours of sleep a day, while men need about 6-8 hours.” So how can you make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night?
Here are a few tips that will help you get better sleep at night:
The first step is understanding why you’re not sleeping well. Are you struggling to fall asleep at night, or are you waking up frequently throughout the night? Are you experiencing hormonal changes caused by menopause that can interrupt sleep? Do you feel exhausted during the day, even after getting a full eight hours of sleep? Once you know what’s causing your sleep problems, you can start to address them.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try creating a bedtime routine that relaxes your mind and body. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime – the bright light from screens can confuse your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.
Wear blue-light-blocking glasses if you use electronic devices at night. The bright light from screens inhibits melatonin production which regulates our circadian rhythm (our body clock). Melatonin tells our bodies when it’s time to wake up, so it’s important to get a good night’s sleep.
Before going to sleep, set aside some time to worry about anything that might be on your mind. If there are any problems you need to solve before tomorrow morning, write them down so you won’t spend the night staring at the ceiling. Write yourself a to-do list for tomorrow if necessary before turning out the lights. If possible, make this time between 10pm and 11pm.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Caffeine can keep you awake for hours after drinking it, while alcohol can lead to restless sleep.
Establish a bedtime routine. This could involve reading a book, taking a bath, or meditating. The key is to do the same things each night so that your body knows it’s time to prepare for sleep.
Avoid eating or drinking too much before bed. This can lead to discomfort and disturbed sleep. Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark, and create a relaxing environment by using calming scents such as lavender oil.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. You’ll be more likely to get a good night’s sleep if your bed, sheets and comforter are comfortable.
Take care of your body by staying active. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep more easily, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized. Exercising regularly is not only healthy but it will prime your body for sleep at the end of the day. Be sure to schedule your exercise and activity a few hours before bedtime to ensure to you feel rested and ready for sleep.
Take a warm shower before you retire. Hot therapy has been shown to help people sleep better. One study showed that people who used a heating pad before bed slept for an average of eight hours, while those who did not use a heating pad only slept for six hours. Another study showed that people who used an electric blanket for thirty minutes before bed had much higher melatonin levels than those who did not use one. Melatonin is the hormone that gives you energy during the day and induces sleep at night.
Hot therapy can be done in many other ways as well, such as through a shower or bath, sauna, or heat pack.
While it may take some time to get used to these new habits, sticking with them will give you more time to accomplish the things you want during your day. Getting a good night’s sleep will help you stay healthy and happy, which means a better life overall.
Here’s to those important Z’s!