Have you ever woken from a good night's sleep and felt as if you could conquer the world? That is because sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing. Even so, many of the health and wellness resources available seldom mention how important adequate sleep is to maintaining a healthy, happy, well-balanced life. But, sleep is often the most neglected area of a person's overall health and well-being. Currently, there are over 50 million adults living with some type of sleep disorder, including insomnia, sleep deprivation, snoring, or sleep apnea. Most of those with these problems go undiagnosed and untreated.
By making your sleeping habits a priority on your health and wellness journey, you can enjoy more days where you wake up feeling refreshed, recharged, and full of energy. Improving and changing our sleeping habits paves the way for better health. If you’re wondering what you can do to help you sleep better, here are 10 tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you to get a better night’s sleep.
Tip #1: Revamp your sleep space
Make your bedroom worth sleeping in. Your room should feel like a sanctuary. A place that you love to unwind, spend time in and relax at the end of each day, and a serene environment that is conducive to sleep. The first thing to do is to clear your room of clutter and distractions that can hinder or disrupt your sleeping pattern. Clutter can contribute to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, so if your bedroom is full of clutter, like piles of laundry, papers, books, or just unnecessary furniture or electronics, get rid of them. Otherwise, you’ll find it difficult to wind down from your day, switch off, and rest.
Tip #2: Exercise before bedtime
Exercise helps to exert any excess energy you have left from the day. Working out is great for your mind and for your body. Moderate aerobic or cardio exercise no later than 2 or 3 hours before you go to bed can help to stabilize your mood and decompress the mind. Making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Establishing a regular exercise routine can help ease stress, eliminate toxins from your system, improve your overall health and help you to sleep better at bedtime.
Tip #3: Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine has become its own food group in which many people automatically reach for a caffeinated beverage or food when they need an energy boost. However, it's important to pay attention to the caffeine you consume (both the amount and time of day) and how it affects your sleep at night. While we all have different tolerances to caffeine, with some being able to consume espresso and have no problem sleeping. There are many who are sensitive to it or build up a tolerance that can be a barrier to falling asleep. To avoid this, monitor your caffeine intake or limit the amount of caffeine consumed throughout the day. Purple tea is a great alternative to traditional caffeinated drinks like coffee. Purple tea has more caffeine than popular teas like green or black, and less caffeine than coffee, so you can enjoy the boost without the crash or jitters. Purpose Tea’s ready to drink bottled Purple tea is easy and convenient to satisfy your caffeine craving while still being mindful of your health and wellness.
Tip #4: Use a journal to brain dump
Ever lay in bed ready to completely unwind and get some shut-eye, but your brain didn't get the memo? One reason many people don't get sufficient sleep is that our brains are overstimulated, even when our bodies aren't. There's a lot that happens in a day, and our thoughts are often still processing what we've done or what we need to do, even when all we want to do is sleep. This is the perfect time to transfer all of your thoughts and feelings onto paper using a journal or notebook. Setting aside 15 to 30 minutes every evening to write in a journal, notebook, calendar, or planner, gets the jumble of thoughts, to-do’s, feelings and memories out of your head and onto paper. Making you feel calmer, more organized, and accomplished. When you feel organized and in control, your brain is able to unwind and relax easier, making it much easier to get a good night’s sleep.
Tip #5: Choose a lighter meal for dinner
Eating until you’re uncomfortably full is not great for your health at any time. But going to bed when your stomach is feeling bloated or heavy makes it especially difficult to sleep. A heavy meal means your body will have to work longer to digest your food. Carb-loaded, heavily salted or spicy foods, or caffeinated drinks are the usual suspects to making it hard to fall asleep. It can be harder to fall asleep if your body encounters heartburn, gas, or indigestion due to heavy food intake. To avoid food-based sleep disruptions, consume heavy dinners with enough time for your food to digest properly before bed. If you need an evening snack, opt for something light and healthy.
Tip #6: Try a little aromatherapy
The use of certain essential oils can help promote relaxation, decrease stress, and even alleviate mental and emotional strains. Using relaxing essential oils like lavender or chamomile before bedtime can potentially help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, try adding just a drop of Chamomile or Lavender essential oil to a tissue or cotton ball and place that near your pillow at bedtime. You can also create a calming lavender-infused bed linen mist for your being. When using essential oils be sure to dilute the oil with water or carrier oil. Avoid using energizing and stimulating oils like lemon, rosemary, grapefruit, or peppermint.
Tip #7: Give yourself a bedtime
Give yourself some time to wind down each night before bed. One of the most important aspects of your bedtime routine is timing. Set a timer on your tv or tablet, or set an alarm on your phone or clock signaling bedtime. Adopting a bedtime schedule is one of the best ways of improving your sleep pattern. When you create and stick to a regular routine at bedtime you’ll help your brain prepare your body for sleep, and boost your chances of having a restful night. Try to go to bed at the same time each night, to ensure you get the right amount of sleep you need to feel well-rested the following day (7 to 9 hours are recommended for most adults).
Tip #8: Skip the night time screen time
Tablets, cell phones, and laptops can keep your brain overstimulated, making it hard to truly wind down. The light and noise levels from these devices can also interfere with your body's natural production of melatonin, which helps with shutting down the body and brain for sleep. In fact, studies show that blue light, from screens, TVs, and phones, at night throws off our circadian rhythm, affecting our sleep. The circadian rhythm is our natural, internal process that regulates the sleep and wake cycles roughly every 24 hours. Sleep researchers have also noted that exposure to certain types and amounts of light at night can lead to less sleep and higher levels of depression.
Tip #9: Keep the temps cool and comfy
The temperature of your bedroom is also important when finding your perfect sleep element. We sleep better when our bodies are cool, as our body temperature naturally reduces during sleep, so keeping your bedroom cool will make for a restful sleep. The ideal temperature for sleeping is around 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, people's comfortability levels differ. If you sleep with a partner who prefers different room temperatures or notices your level of comfort changing throughout the night, experiment with various tools until you find your preferred temperature. Adding a cooling mattress pad and lighter weight bedding, or turning on an oscillating fan can also help. You can also adjust what you wear to bed as needed. Wear bed socks or change your pajamas if the temperature is keeping you restless.
Tip #10: Change your bedding regularly
Your sheets and blankets play a major role in creating an inviting sleeping area. Choose breathable, comfortable cotton sheets for better sleep through the night. Some fabrics trap heat, that is why cotton is most recommended. Also, be sure you wash and change your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Sweat, dead skin, dirt and other build-ups can eventually wear out your bedding, making it feel outstretched, unclean, heavy, and just uncomfortable to sleep in. Freshly washed sheets that feel comfortable to the touch and that will help maintain a comfortable temperature during the night. You should also change your pillows every year as pillows can lose shape or become uncomfortable. Waking up tired, stiff, or aching is a sure sign that your mattress might be up for replacement. You should replace your mattress every 10 years or sooner if it’s lumpy or sagging or damaged in some way. A quality mattress is vital to making sure that you are comfortable enough to relax. It also ensures that your spine gets proper support to avoid aches and pains.
Bonus: Be cautious with naps
Quick naps make you feel great in the moment, but you'll definitely feel its effects as you try to sleep at night. If you nap for too long or too late in the day, it can throw off your sleep schedule and make it harder to get to a proper amount of sleep at night. If you find yourself getting tired throughout the day, or yearning for a nap after meals, try to move up your sleep time, to maintain a proper sleep schedule. The most ideal nap length is around 20 to 30 minutes.
As with anything new, you want to gradually create a sleep regime that you can stick with, and that makes you feel comfortable for the best night's sleep. Don't try to implement them all at once, or you will feel overwhelmed. It’s not all-or-nothing; start with small changes and work your way up toward healthier sleep habits. The goal is to create a consistent routine that you follow each night as this will help reinforce healthy habits when it comes to bedtime.
Before you try any of the recommended tips, you should speak with your doctor if you find that your sleep problems are persisting over the long-term, affecting your health, or if they occur with other unexplained health problems.