If it’s already 3:00 a.m. and you are watching the minutes tick by on your alarm clock, it might seem impossible to reach dreamland. Fortunately, there are plenty of things for you to do to get a more restful night’s sleep.
Scientists have actually tested some tried-and-true tricks, which are also referred to as “sleep hygiene” tips that you can practice regularly to make sure that you not only fall but also stay asleep. Follow the 6 pieces of advice guaranteed to help you sleep better tonight.
1. Stick to a Schedule
Stick to your sleep/wake cycle, which is also referred to as your circadian rhythm, on track by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends. If you have to sleep in on Saturday or Sunday, avoid staying in bed for more than an extra 1- or 2-hours max.
2. Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink
You are already aware that caffeine is a stimulant, which is why you should avoid taking tea, coffee, and other sneaky sources of caffeine such as chocolate or even some pain relief medication at least 4 hours before you go to bed, ideally after midday.
Alcohol can wake you up in the middle of the night, which is why you should avoid taking it 2- to 3- hours before bedtime. Be mindful about not going to bed either famished or too stuffed since hunger pangs will probably wake you up and digesting food can make for less restful sleep.
3. Create a Bedtime Ritual
To fall asleep faster, relaxation is critical, which is why you should try to do the same thing every day in the hour prior to going to bed that the brain will associate with sleep, such as practicing simple yoga poses such as “legs up the wall” or “child’s pose”, listening to a calming music on your iPod, or taking a warm bath.
4. Steer Clear of the Light
Light affects your body clock, which is why you should turn off any bright overhead lights, lamps, as well as LCD screens at least 1 hour before bed because they will only rev you up. If you find it too difficult to turn off the lights or screens completely, you should at least dim them to prepare the body for sleep.
5. Make the Bedroom a Sleep Haven
Only use the bedroom for relaxation, sleep, and sex, so avoid associating it with other distractions such as paying the bills or even work activities. Block light from the outdoors using blackout curtains, paint the walls a calming shade of blue, and invest in comfortable sheets, Costco mattress and pillows. Use a white noise machine and keep the room between 60- and 70- degrees Fahrenheit. You should also keep pets off the bed because they are prime disrupters of sleep.
6. Limit Your Tossing and Turning
Gazing at the clock whenever you are unable to sleep tends to increase the hormone known as cortisol in the body and this can make it harder to fall asleep. First try to turn the clock away from you. If that fails to work, get up after 20 or 30 minutes and do something simple yet repetitive or relaxing. If you are worried about something, try to put it on paper to get it out of your head so that the mind can be quiet for sleep.