What you need to know:
- You may prefer to read a book before going to sleep while others find it easier listening to soft music or even taking a hot bath or shower beforehand.
- If you are having trouble sleeping, try staying away from potentially stressful activities in your day to reduce the stress levels that are already preventing you from getting a good night's rest.
If you struggle to get restful sleep at night, you are not alone. But there are ways to put an end to sleepless nights.
To begin with, the duration and quality of your sleep determine whether you will wake up feeling refreshed or not.
Next, we discuss tips that will give you that rejuvenating sleep.
Identify what time you need to wake up in the morning
This will make it easier for your body and brain to adapt. Once you have identified the time, use self-discipline to change any bad habits that disrupt sound sleeping patterns.
Set a bedtime and stick to it even if you're not tired
If you're in the habit of going to bed at different times every night, it will be difficult for your body and mind to get used to this new schedule. Set an early bedtime even if you are not tired yet because having control over your body allows you to stay on track with daily routines without mental strain caused by a lack of restful nights.
Reduce blue light exposure before going to sleep by turning off electronics
Exposure to blue light from electronic devices such as televisions, smartphones, or tablets can prevent melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep when you finally get into bed. Of course, you don't have to cut out electronics after a certain time at night but try to limit your use. One way to work around this is by installing free apps which reduce the amount of blue light from your screens.
Create a relaxing pre-sleep routine
This is one of the most important aspects of maintaining healthy sleep hygiene as it can make or break your efforts to get more restful nights. It can take some time and effort to find out what works for you, but once you do, an effective pre-sleep routine will help clear your mind from any remaining anxieties that might be creeping up before bedtime.
For example, some people prefer reading a book before going to sleep while others find it easier listening to soft music or even taking a hot bath or shower beforehand.
Do not engage in any activities that are too stimulating such as watching action movies late at night, which can leave your mind running wild with thoughts of what will happen next.
Avoid caffeine after 2 pm and alcohol at night
If you are having trouble with your sleep cycle, try and cut back on your caffeine intake in the afternoon or evening. Caffeine is known for stimulating the brain. Therefore, it is best to avoid it in the hours before bedtime. You can make a conscious effort to drink more water throughout the day, which may eventually reduce or even cut out caffeinated beverages altogether.
Likewise, you should cut back on alcohol intake after dinner. Although it may initially make you feel sleepy or relaxed, too much alcohol can interrupt your sleep cycle by causing disruptions in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of your sleep.
It is a good idea to exercise regularly because it can help get your body tired and ready for sleep. However, it is not recommended that you do this right before going to sleep. The increased blood flow and energy levels from physical activity can make it difficult for your mind and body to get into a restful mode.
For example, if you go for a jog right before turning in for the night, chances are that once your head hits the pillow, at least one part of your body (if not more) will still be active, and it will be difficult to fall asleep.
It is not about your cleanliness but good sleeping habits
Likewise, if you are having trouble sleeping, stay away from potentially stressful activities in your day to reduce the stress levels that are already preventing you from getting a good night's rest.
Benefits of good sleep hygiene
- Reduces stress
- Increases energy levels throughout the day
- Improves memory, cognition, and decision-making skills
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke
- Increases your metabolism for better weight management
- Prevents depression or mood swings caused by lack of sleep