If you are one of the 40% of adults in the U.S. that struggles to get the sleep you need each night, here are some tips to help you get the sleep you need.
1. Drink Wisely
One of the ways that we sabotage our sleep is by drinking things that keep us up. Anything with caffeine, even a comforting cup of tea, can keep you from falling asleep. Steer clear of coffee, soft drinks, tea, and any other beverage containing caffeine after dark. You should also be wary of drinking any alcohol as bedtime approaches. Most people don’t understand that while alcohol may make you drowsy, it actually makes it harder to get a good night sleep.
2. Just Say No to Naps
If you are struggling to get the sleep you need at night it can be very tempting to try and squeeze in a little shut eye during the day. Unfortunately, this can actually make it harder to get the sleep you need when night comes. It might feel great at the time but it can also perpetuate the cycle of sleepiness. Your best bet is to skip the nap all together but if you need the extra boost, limit your nap to 45 minutes and make sure your nap is done before early afternoon.
3. Establish Healthy Habits
One of the most helpful things you can do to make sure you can easily fall asleep at night and get as much sleep as you need it to get into the habit of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. In addition to sticking to a schedule, you should also create a bedtime routine geared toward helping your body calm down and prepare for sleep. This can include whatever activities you like but should focus on getting ready for bed and relaxing. Avoid things that will keep you from falling asleep like electronics, working out, and eating large meals.
4. Set Up a Sanctuary for Sleep
It is very likely that the only time we think about how our environment affects our sleep is when something unusual is happening that disrupts it. This is very common when we are away from home and the environment around us is different than we are used to. If you are struggling to sleep, check your space for excess light and noise. Make sure the room isn’t too cold or too warm. Pay attention to what is happening on nights when you are not struggling to sleep and look for clues to the type of environment you need to get the best sleep.
5. Eliminate Electronics
The best way to make sure you don’t get the sleep you need is to bring your television, computer, smartphone, or other electronic device to bed with you. Not only do these devices distract us from going to sleep, they also impact us biologically in ways that make sleep elusive. The blue-hued screens of most electronic devices mimic the light of the sun and can trick our bodies into thinking it is day even though it is night. This causes chemical changes that can make sleeping difficult.
6. Release Your Worries
One of the most common things that keep us tossing and turning all night is that we can’t let go of our worries. We let them race around in our head all night and keep us from sleeping. However, one of the best things you can do when you are anxious or stressed is get a good night sleep. Take a minute before you lay down to sleep to settle your mind and it will work wonders toward helping you get the sleep you need.