How to Sleep Better Starting Tonight: 37 Go-To Strategies
Learning how to sleep better is a
surefire way to manage stress and feel better in many aspects of your
life. Unfortunately, in our busy, over-scheduled lives, sleep often gets
put on the back burner.
When you have another moment, please check out my colleagues at TryMattress.com! You're bound to find the perfect mattress for you.
We tend to accumulate a “sleep debt” when we consistently get less than 6 hours of sleep a night. The side effects of sleep deprivation can range from irritable mood to driving impairment, from sluggishness to poor health. Just as there are numerous benefits to sleep, there are detrimental outcomes to lack of sleep. Here are my top 37 strategies on how to sleep better starting tonight!
So, how to sleep better starting tonight?
1. Make sleep a top priority
Take a look at how many hours of sleep you’re getting each night. How can you improve on this? Consider making a sleep schedule.
2. Set an alarm to go to bed
you find yourself consistently wishing you had hit the hay earlier but
staying on track with a calming bedtime routine is virtually impossible
for you, consider setting an alarm to go to bed.
3. Resist the urge to snooze
caught between soundings of that alarm is just not high-quality sleep.
The snooze button often disturbs REM sleep, which can make us feel
groggier than when we wake up during other stages of sleep. You don’t
have to launch out of bed in the morning, but setting the alarm for a
slightly later time and skipping a snooze cycle or two could bring big
benefits when it comes to how to sleep better.
4. Go easy on the alcohol before bed
that nightcap really can make it feel easier to fall asleep, when your
buzz wears off later in the night, you’re more likely to wake up
5. Slip on some socksSome
people have the unlucky lot in life of colder-than-comfortable
extremities. But having warm hands and feet seems to predict how quickly
you’ll fall asleep.
6. Keep your bedroom dark
the most inconspicuous glow — like that from a digital alarm clock —
can disrupt your shut-eye. If you can’t seal up all the light sources in
your room, consider using an eye-mask.
7. Power down an hour before bed
the lights and turn off all your devices — smartphones, laptops, TVs,
all of which belong outside the bedroom — about 60 minutes before
bedtime. Bright light is one of the biggest triggers to our brains that
it’s time to be awake and alert, so start sending the opposite signal
early. How to sleep better? UNPLUG
8. Keep it cool
in the bedroom is a little bit of a Goldilocks situation: A room that’s
too hot and a room that’s too cold can both mess with your sleep. Aim
for somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Cut caffeine by the afternoon
afternoon jolt stays in your system longer than you might think.
Experts recommend laying off the caffeine by early afternoon to
guarantee it won’t keep you up in bed later.
10. Exercise regularly...
the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep In America survey, regular,
vigorous exercisers reported getting the best sleep. The best news is
that it doesn’t take much: Adding even just a few minutes of physical
activity to your day can make a difference in how to sleep better.
11. ...just try not to do it too close to bedtime
of us don’t exercise intensely enough to really rev ourselves up so
much that we override the sleep-promoting benefits of regular workouts.
However, especially in people with trouble sleeping, making sure your
sweat sessions end at least a couple of hours before bedtime is
generally a good idea.
12. Avoid heavy meals when it’s late
body isn’t meant to be digesting while you sleep, so a big meal too
close to bedtime may keep you up at night. Protein is especially hard to
digest, so if you have to eat late, opt for lighter fare.
13. Paint your bedroom a tranquil color
it’s a relaxing blue or a warm yellow — the exact shade doesn’t matter
so much as long as it calms you. Go for a matte finish rather than a
14. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only
in bed is a form of relaxation, right? Yes... and no. A page-turner, a
mystery or any other book that demands your emotional and intellectual
attention may be more distracting than relaxing. Opt for lighter reading
before bed, and keep it to the couch or your favorite comfy chair.
15. Keep your bedroom quiet
like whirring electronics or ticking watches can easily be left outside
the bedroom. For snoring bed partners or blaring sirens outside your
window that are slightly more difficult to avoid, try a handy pair of
16. But not too quiet
your sleep haven is so silent you could hear a pin drop, every
occasional bump in the night becomes that much more evident and
disruptive. You might want to consider a white noise machine if your
bedroom verges on the too-quiet side of the spectrum.
17. Make sure your mattress fits
it or not, lots of tossing and turning may be less about you and more
about what you’re lying on. That’s right: An uncomfortable mattress
might the source of your sleepless nights. Whether that’s because it’s
lost its cushioning or because it’s simply too small, it’s important to
recognize the signs that it’s time to buy a new one. Expect to make a
swap every five to 10 years, according to Consumer Reports.
18. Nap — wisely
done right, a little daytime snooze won’t destroy your nighttime
slumber, and can boost memory, alertness and job performance while
you’re at it. Just make sure you limit your nap to 30 minutes, max, and
don’t snooze too close to bedtime.
How to sleep better?
Take a 10-MINUTE POWER NAP right now!
19. Try separate blankets in a shared bed
your bed partner is constantly stealing all the covers or one of you
sweats while the other shivers, it might be a good idea to try making
the bed with separate sets of sheets.
20. Keep a consistent sleep/wake schedule, even on weekends
to your work-week sleep and wake schedule over the weekend sounds like
torture to most of us, but it’s actually a wise move where sleep is
concerned. Staying up and sleeping in later than normal can shift your
body’s natural clock in the same way that cross-country travel does.
This so-called social jet lag can make it extra difficult to fall asleep
when Sunday night rolls around, making for even more unpleasant Monday
mornings. A schedule will train your brain in how to sleep better.
21. Work through your thoughts about the day before getting into bed
who finds his or her mind racing in bed may not have taken enough time
to process the day first. A better approach would be to take some time
in the evening to work through the day, make lists to do tomorrow and
clear your mental desktop of the stuff that you still have to think
about. Then, get into bed.
22. Strike a pose, say a prayer
meditation, even prayer are all helpful tactics to coax your mind to
wind down. These quiet activities may help you slow your breathing and
heart rate and drift off sooner.
23. Take deep breaths
the quiet reflection above isn’t your style, some simple breathing
exercises may do the trick. Breathing deeply mimics how your body feels
when it’s already relaxed, so after inhaling and exhaling for a few
rounds, you just might find yourself feeling calmer. That’s because deep
breathing stimulates the body’s naturally-calming parasympathetic
system, again training your brain on how to sleep better.
24. Try aromatherapy
scent of lavender has noted benefits for sleep. A small 2005 study
found that a sniff before bed led to more deep sleep. And a 2008 study
found that lavender helped women with insomnia fall asleep more easily.
25. Take a hot bath
cozy soak raises your body temperature slightly. Then, when you hop
out, you’ll cool down quickly, which mimics the natural drop in body
temperature caused by the brain as it readies the body for sleep. A warm
bath before bed seems to help people fall asleep more quickly, but also
get better quality sleep.26. Experiment with progressive muscle relaxation
relaxation exercise involves tensing then relaxing the muscles
throughout the body, directing your attention to each as you go. It can
improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.
How to sleep better?
Give PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION a try!
It might feel a little silly the first time you try it, but go ahead and imagine yourself somewhere calm, relaxing and sleep-inducing. This deep relaxation method can slow brain wave activity, coaxing you toward sleep.
28. Write down what’s bugging you
If other relaxation tricks won’t cut it, get literal with those racing thoughts and put them on paper in a worry journal you keep by your bedside. Clearing your mind of this mental clutter can help you drift off more smoothly.
29. Get out of bed if you really can’t sleep
If all else fails, get out of bed. Continuing to lie there only stresses you out more, making it even more difficult to nod off. Experts recommend getting out of bed to do something else — as long it’s relaxing and doesn’t involve bright light. Then, climb back into bed when you’re really tired.
30. Get some sunlight first thing in the morning
There’s nothing quite like bright light to trigger your brain to stay awake and alert. Getting some natural light — you’ll want to aim for about 15 minutes — first thing in the morning can help night owls reset their biological clocks and ease into how to sleep better, earlier.
31. Combat snoring
About 37 million American adults snore regularly. It certainly disturbs a bed partner’s sleep, but “sawing logs” can disrupt the snorer’s sleep, too, leading to more daytime sleepiness, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Some simple tips may help you keep it under control, like sleeping on your side instead of your back, avoiding alcohol before bed and even losing weight. Many experts recommend sewing a tennis ball into the front pocket of an old t-shirt, and then wearing it backwards to make sleeping on your back uncomfortable enough to help you stay on your side.
32. Get checked for sleep apnea
It’s possible that your snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially-harmful sleep condition in which people stop breathing for brief periods, sometimes as many as hundreds of times a night. Lifestyle changes like losing weight and avoiding alcohol may help people with sleep apnea too, but often, to get the best rest, additional treatment — typically with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine — is required from a doctor. A sleep test may be conducted to determine the best way for you on how to sleep better.
33. Try a new pillow
Dust mites might just love your pillows even more than you do. In some people, the build up of these critters can trigger allergic reactions that make it harder to sleep. Generally, pillows should be replaced every 12 to 18 months. You’ll also want to make sure you’re sleeping with the right pillow. Stomach sleepers, for example, need very thin, flat pillows, and side sleepers need something a little firmer to fill the distance between their ear and shoulder.
34. Don’t stress about sleep
I'm certainly not saying to shrug off your shuteye like it doesn’t matter, but don’t stress yourself out about getting adequate time in bed, either. The more anxious you get about getting enough sleep, the more difficult it will be to actually get any. This kind of thinking trains the brain in the opposite direction of how to sleep better.
35. Avoid drinking too many liquids too close to bedtime
Don’t go dehydrating yourself, but consider cutting off your water supply a couple of hours before bed to save yourself middle-of-the-night trips to the loo. You want to train your bladder how to sleep better, too.
36. Quit smoking
Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant, and consequently could keep you up at night. Smokers are four times more likely to say they feel tired when they wake up than nonsmokers, according to a 2008 study. As if you really needed another reason to kick the habit.
37. Consider therapy
How to sleep better? Maybe your sleep troubles are a little more serious and could use the insight of a professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered the gold standard when it comes to treating insomnia, and usually involves meeting with a therapist for various sleep assessments, keeping a sleep journal and adjusting some of your bedtime habits.
~ parts adapted via Huffington Post
Now Go Back to Sleep