We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but when insomnia persists day after day, it can become a real problem. Beyond making us feel tired and moody, lack of sleep can have serious effects on our health, increasing our propensity for obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To get a good night's rest, there are several strategies you can try. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime.
Consider using room darkening screens, ear plugs, a fan, or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. Doing relaxing activities before bedtime, such as bathing or using relaxation techniques, could promote better sleep. Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, taking a deep breath, and visualizing. A daily brisk walk will not only trim you, but will also keep you awake less often at night.
Exercise increases the effect of natural sleep hormones, such as melatonin. A study published in the journal Sleep found that postmenopausal women who exercised for about three and a half hours a week had an easier time falling asleep than women who exercised less frequently. Just watch the time of your workouts. Exercising too close to bedtime can be stimulating.
Morning workouts that expose you to daylight will help you with the natural circadian rhythm. Bills add up and your to-do list is a mile long. Daytime worries can surface at night. Activates fight or flight hormones that work against sleep. Give yourself time to relax before going to sleep.
Learning some form of the relaxation response can promote good sleep and can also reduce anxiety during the day. To relax, try deep breathing exercises. Inhale slowly and deeply, and then exhale. A comfortable bed is also obviously essential. That could mean splurging on a better mattress or pillows (science says pillows will likely need to be changed every 18 months thanks to dust mite buildup).
And apologies to your furry friends, but if you're looking for the best sleep experience, they'll have to find their own places to sleep away from your bed. Your sleeping subconscious is a powerful tool that can help you make difficult decisions and come up with innovative ideas. But for it to do so, you have to ask for help and take the time to listen to their answers. You can make time to write a little freedom, or just take a moment to reflect on the problems you're facing, the day that passed, or your hopes for tomorrow. Or try a simple meditation practice. The need to move your legs, snoring, and burning pain in the stomach, chest, or throat are symptoms of three common sleep disorders: restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Your body's ideal sleeping environment is cool, dark and quiet, so do your best to eliminate noise and light from your room (and hey, you can also save some money by lowering the thermostat). A regular sleep schedule is great, but don't be a slave to your plan or stress out if you don't have sleep at the right time. One of the inspirations behind the launch of Sleep by Headspace was that many Headspace members said they practiced meditation at night, even before bedtime, to help them de-stress and fall asleep. One study found that participants who had irregular sleep patterns and went to bed late on weekends reported that they did not sleep well (4). Despite the fact that there is a wide range of causes and types of sleep problems, expert consensus points to a handful of concrete measures that promote a more restful sleep. If, on the other hand, you can lie down and sleep well every night, even when you have fewer hours, you will wake up more rested. To optimize the ambience of your bedroom, try to minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices such as alarm clocks.
Although it's more subtle than a cup of coffee, not relaxing and taking the right steps before bedtime to sleep soundly can be just as harmful. While they are not a magic formula for sleep problems, they can be useful when combined with other natural sleep strategies. Of course, there is no substitute for adequate sleep time, but healthy and successful people know that a few simple actions can ensure that they wake up rested and ready to go out. The first and best step you can take to start sleeping better is to set a fixed sleep schedule and stick to it, even on weekends and holidays. It's not designed to digest and sleep at the same time, so do your best to make sure you enjoy that heavy dinner early in the night or consume lighter foods if you're going to eat later. If you're looking for some sounds that are specially designed to soothe, check out Headspace's sleep music and sleepcasts. Alternatively, if you don't want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in warm water can help you relax and improve your sleep (102).By following these tips and strategies for better sleep, you'll be able to get more restful nights so that you wake up feeling refreshed each morning.