The major component to answering the question “how to sleep better?” is developing a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every night to coordinate your body’s internal clock. This is considered the best way.
It is suggested adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you need more that’s okay, just get it! Everyone is different, so you must figure out your optimal sleep amount.
If you don’t know your optimal sleep amount, you must find it. The best way to do this is establish your wake time and fall asleep 8 hours before that time for a week. If you are experiencing the symptoms of sleep deprivation fall asleep 15 minutes earlier for a week and repeat this until you know longer feel sleep deprived.
Once you know your optimal sleep amount, plan your days accordingly, so you fall asleep at the right time.
Also, keep a record of your sleep. People that keep records of how they sleep, tend to better than those that don’t. This is because they know exactly where they stand. This will not only increase your chances of sleeping better, but it will likely improve your diet, exercise, job performance, and family life in the process.
Tips and Strategies on How to Sleep Better:
Reduce your stress – This is so important. A survey conducted by the Better Sleep Council found that 65% of Americans are losing sleep due to stress. Here are some suggestions to reduce stress:
Take some personal time for yourself and don’t think about your job
Spend time with your family
Laugh out loud
Find a sport or hobby
Have a positive mental attitude. Feeding your mind positive words is like feeding your body a proper diet, what goes in your mind is exactly what will come out of it.
Exercise – this will raise your endorphin levels, which are mood enhancers. The endorphins give your body a sense of well being (runner’s high), which in turn will contribute to good sleep. However, it’s suggested that you finish your workout a few hours before bedtime, allowing your body to cool down.
Proper diet – finish your last meal 2-3 hours before bedtime. It’s important not to go to bed hungry because this will inhibit your sleep, however, don’t eat a meal and immediately go to bed. Also, it suggested to eat light meals that are higher in carbohydrates with some protein before bed time. Some examples include a bowl of cereal, an apple with some natural peanut butter, or some fruit in cottage cheese.
Avoid overeating – this is a common problem of sleep loss because when you overeat your body is working harder than normal to digest the food.
Create a proper sleep environment
Keep a dark and quiet room – close the curtains and/or blinds. It’s okay to have a consistent noise such as, a fan, the air conditioner, or a CD that makes soothing noises for sleep. These can help in drowning out sudden noises
Room Temperature – the National Sleep Foundation suggests keeping the room temperature between 54-75 degrees Fahrenheit
No TVs or computers in the bedroom – they are too stimulating
Avoid caffeine at night – Many experts suggest avoiding coffee, tea, chocolate, and soft drinks 6 hours before bedtime.
Avoid nicotine products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cigars). They tend to increase blood pressure.
Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
Take a warm bath before you sleep – This can relax your body.
Have good bedding
Pillows – a good pillow that’s soft and supportive should last several years. Take one with you, when you travel. Not surprisingly, many people don’t replace their pillows often enough.
Sheets – linen sheets are considered the best and the higher the thread count the better the quality and comfort. However, linen is also the most expensive. If you went with cotton or silk, they are considered inferior to linen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get good night’s sleep using them.
Mattress – this was one of the biggest factors for me in selecting a hotel. If they had a poor mattress, I left immediately.Personally, I found Hilton Brand hotels to have the best mattresses. It should be comfortable and supportive to your body. Also, sleeping on your side with a straight spine or on your back are the suggested sleep positions from many experts.
Clothes – wear loose fitting comfortable clothes that give your body room and a chance to breath.
Read before you go to bed
Plan your day – This keeps your mind clear (not worried) because you know what you have to do and when.
Don’t try too hard to sleep – If you’ve seen the movie Saving Private Ryan there is a scene where Medic Wade says, “…the trick to falling asleep is trying to stay awake.” He is saying, if you are thinking about sleeping, you are creating too much pressure for yourself. This keeps your mind active, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
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