Good night; sleep tight! You need sleep, but with the constant demands of life, we figured you needed a few tips on how to consistently get better sleep!
As busy, filled, and overscheduled as our modern-day lives can be, it’s no wonder that one in three American adults don’t get enough sleep. While enough sleep can vary from person to person, on average, adults need between 7–9 hours of quality sleep nightly. We all know the importance of good sleep, but few consistently get the necessary or optimal amount. With some simple tweaks or focus on specific habits, getting optimal sleep more consistently can become a reality.
Be in Sync
Your body has a natural sleep/wake cycle, and when you keep in tune with this natural sync, you’ll be able to experience the best sleep. If you’re inconsistent in your sleep routine, sleep times, duration, and so on, your body’s natural rhythm (or circadian rhythm) is disrupted, also leading to disrupted sleep. There are steps you can take to maintain a synced sleep cycle.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends or holidays
- Don’t oversleep, even if your schedule permits it
- Don’t over-nap (sleeping too much during the day can disrupt your rhythm at night)
Understand Your Environment
The environment you surround yourself with can go a long way in either encouraging your body to be stimulated or calm and relaxed. Start preparing your body for rest and sleep by turning down, or off, the lights, turn on soothing sounds, and don’t watch TV or bright screens directly before bed. Create a setting around you that promotes rest, relaxation, and peace.
Avoid Stimulants in the Evening
Any stimulating activity or food can interfere with your sleep/wake cycle and can leave you in an unrested state.
- Caffeinated tea
- Energy drinks
- Processed chocolate
- Processed sugar or carbohydrates
- Soda pop
- Vigorous exercise
- Scary or exciting TV shows or events
It is not only important to consider what you’re eating (or not eating), but also when. Eating a meal, especially a heavy one, too soon before bed can disrupt your ability to have restful sleep as your body is working to digest the food.
Focus on Naturally Calming Activities or Foods
- Chamomile tea
- Lavender tea, extract, or oil
- Relaxing bath
- Yoga or stretching
- Focused breathing
- Writing in journal
Have a Routine
Having a bedtime ritual helps prepare both the body and mind for sleep. It can help you get into your sleep/wake rhythm and let your body know it’s time to start preparing for rest. There is no one right or wrong routine, but any activities that help get you ready to sleep, things such as washing your face, brushing your teeth, showering, stretching, or meditation.
(NOTE: Having a routine can improve your sleep immensely and part of that routine starts in the morning. Check out the 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Morning Routine.)
Play Soothing Sounds
Putting on soothing sounds before, or while, you sleep can help promote a deeper, more restful sleep. These sounds can vary, but popular ones include the sound of the ocean, a breeze, flute or piano music, or anything similar.
Have a List
Writing down your to-do items, or anything else occupying your mind can help your mind to be more at ease and helps prevent you from sitting in bed thinking about the things you need to do or stressing about not remembering them later.
If you need to be up early and are nervous about missing your alarm, having multiple alarms can help reassure you that you will be wakened up on time, allowing you to focus on relaxing and getting into a deep and restful sleep.
Wear Yourself Out
While vigorous exercise too soon before bed can cause you to be too stimulated to get a good night’s rest, getting light to moderate exercise can help tire your body and make it ready for a good night’s sleep. If exercise isn’t going to happen for you, getting a sweat in a sauna prior to bed can also help induce a restful sleep.
While we are all unique and different, optimal sleep is a universal need. The best thing you can do to help yourself consistently get this necessary sleep is to set up an individualized sleep schedule and routine. There are other tools that are helpful, such as meditation or relaxing baths, that can help you get into this schedule and consistently get the best sleep possible!