Spring into Better Sleep with These 20 Simple Tips
If you take a look around, you’ll see that Mother Nature is reminding us daily that spring is a time of growth and fresh starts. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and critters are coming out of hibernation.
But what about us? We should be following nature’s lead by turning our attention to improving our health and well-being. Luckily, we have Better Sleep Month to help us focus on becoming healthier, happier versions of ourselves.
During the entire month of May, the Better Sleep Council will be striving to remind everyone of how important getting a good night’s rest is to every aspect of our lives.
Not getting enough sleep can have some shocking effects on your health. Lack of sleep can not only make you feel groggy and irritable, it can even increase your risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure. Scary stuff!
If you’re not getting the 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night that’s recommended by experts, you could be missing out on a chance at feeling your healthiest and most productive.
Expert Tips on How to Get an Awesome Night of Sleep
If you’ve ever had trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, you’re far from alone! The truth is, getting a restful night of sleep can be harder than it sounds.
Let’s celebrate the start of Better Sleep Month by taking an in-depth look at these expert-recommended and science-backed tips for getting better sleep…
1. Stick to a 7-Day Sleep Schedule
You might be tempted to reserve your weekends for sleeping late but doing this could be throwing your sleep-wake cycle out of whack, making it harder for you to get to sleep on weeknights.
If your goal is to drift off to sleep easier each night, your best bet is to turn in at the same time, even on Saturdays and Sundays. Trust us, your work days will look much brighter if you follow this tip!
2. Set a Bedtime Alarm
Do you find yourself constantly wishing that you’d hit the sack earlier the night before? Part of getting the best sleep possible is making sure your body knows when it’s time for bed. Give yourself a helping hand by setting a “bedtime alarm” to remind you when it’s time to hit the day. Do this 7 nights a week and you’ll be feeling well-rested faster than you might think.
3. Resist the Snooze Button
You get the highest quality of sleep when you’re in the deepest stage of rest. If you’re snoozing your alarm to try and grab some extra shut-eye, you’re disrupting your natural sleep cycle, which can make you feel even groggier when you do get up to start your day. You’re better off to set your alarm for later and avoid the snooze option altogether.
4. Limit Daytime Napping
An afternoon siesta can be super refreshing, especially when you’ve been putting in extra hours at work. And when it’s done right, the occasional afternoon nap won’t disrupt your regular sleep-wake cycle. Be sure to limit your daytime napping to no more than 30 minutes and make sure it’s not done too close to bedtime.
5. Grab Some Sunshine First Thing
Getting some natural light at the beginning of your days can actually “reset” your body’s clock and help you to fall asleep faster. Even if you’re a night owl! Aim for getting in about 15 minutes of sunshine in the morning to cash-in on this better sleep tip.
6. Ditch Your Afternoon Coffee Run
Most of us hit a bit of a slump after lunchtime and turn to caffeine to get us through the rest of the day. The trouble with that afternoon cup of coffee is that it can cause us to stay up later than we normally would without a caffeine boost.
Skip any stimulants after lunch to ensure that you hit the hay at a reasonable time. You’ll get more sleep and just might find yourself not even wanting that afternoon cup of Joe!
7. Break-up with the Cigarettes
Nicotine is another stimulant that can cause you some serious woes at bedtime. One study found that smokers are almost five times more likely to feel tired when they get out of bed in the morning than non-smokers. If you want to get high-quality sleep each night, your best bet is to ditch cigarettes for good.
8. Avoid the Gym Right Before Bedtime
Although getting regular exercise has tons of health benefits, if you’re working out too close to bedtime, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Strenuous activity increases your adrenaline levels, making you feel more alert. Be sure that your sweat sessions are over at least 2 hours before turning in for the night.
9. Keep Meals Light When It’s Late
Our bodies aren’t designed to digest food while we sleep, so if you’re a lover of bedtime snacks, you should make sure you’re enjoying lighter fare. And be sure to avoid protein, as it’s especially hard for your body to process.
Try nuts, fruit, or pretzels for your bedtime snack, and make sure any heavy meals are enjoyed at least 4 hours before you turn in for the night. This tip will help keep you from tossing and turning your way into a sleepless night.
10. Cut Out the Night Caps
Folks have been turning to alcohol to help them get to sleep for generations. But while that pre-bed drink might help you to feel sleepy, your buzz will wear off as you sleep, and you’ll find yourself waking up much more frequently throughout the night to use the restroom.
11. Unplug an Hour Before Bed
Bright light is one signals that alert the body that it’s time to be alert and awake, so you need to help yourself get to sleep by turning off all of your devices around 60 minutes before you turn in for the night. Setting aside your smartphone, laptop, and other electronics will give your body the important clue that it’s time to wind down for the day.
12. Paint Your Bedroom a Calming Color
Get yourself into a relaxed mood and help lull yourself to sleep by choosing a calming color. Try a warm shade of blue or yellow and go for a matte finish. You want to avoid high-gloss finishes and bright, reflective colors like white or red to make sure that your bedroom is a relaxing sleep haven.
13. Find a Mattress That’s the Perfect Fit
Your sleepless nights could be caused by something you might not have even considered yet: an uncomfortable mattress. That’s right, your mattress could be the cause of your sleep woes! It’s time to upgrade to a better mattress and get the best night’s sleep of your life.
If you’re looking for a bed that will conform to your shape, support your entire body, and banish the sleep-wrecking frustration of tossing and turning, your best bet is to invest in a gel-infused memory foam mattress. You just might find yourself sleeping better than you ever thought you could!
14. Share a Bed, Not the Sheets
Once you’ve found the best mattress for you, the next step is making sure that you and your partner can both sleep peacefully on it. You made a smart choice by upgrading to a memory foam mattress to cut down on sleep disturbances for bed partners, you still need to make sure that you both get a fair share of the covers.
That’s where sleeping with separate sheets or blankets comes into play. Make your bed with one fitted sheet, and then add two twin or full sheets of the same color and style on top. Your bed will look pretty when it’s made, and you and your partner won’t have to fight for the covers.
15. Keep Your Bedroom Cool and Dark
Experts have found that sleeping in a darkened room that’s cooled down to around 68 degrees Fahrenheit is the most surefire way to ensure a great night’s sleep. You should banish anything that lights up from the bedroom and turn the AC down before turning in for the night to make sure that you’re ready for slumber.
16. Keep Things Quiet
You also want to keep your bedroom nice and quiet, but not to the point where any little noise has you sitting straight up at attention. Try adding a white noise machine or a box fan to your bedroom for soothing sounds that will send you off to Dreamland.
If you find that you’re waking yourself up at night with your snoring or feeling groggy as all get out in the mornings, you might need some stop snoring tips to help you feel refreshed during your days. You might try sleeping on your side, elevating your head, or even looking into a humidifier to keep the air in your bedroom from drying out your sinuses.
17. Try Deep Breathing
Lying in bed and staring at the ceiling is a horrible way to spend your nights! Why not try some deep breathing to help calm yourself into sleep? Inhaling until your lungs are full and then letting your breath out slowly naturally stimulates a relaxation response in your body. Give it a try the next time you find yourself counting sheep.
18. Soothe Yourself with Aromatherapy
You can also sniff your way to better sleep by using essential oils that have been shown to encourage deeper sleep. Add a diffuser with some lavender in it to fill the air in your bedroom with a relaxing scent. You’ll find yourself drifting off to sleep in no time.
19. Take a Pre-Bed Soak
Taking a warm bath is another great way to unwind from a long day and let your body know that it’s time to hit the sack. When you raise your body’s temperature with a hot soak and then cool off quickly as you towel dry, your brain sends out the signal that it’s sleepy time. So, get out some candles and bubble bath the next time you’re hankering for a good night’s rest.
20. Go to Bed with a Clear Head
If you find that you just can’t seem to shut your mind off at bedtime, you might want to try putting all of your worries down on paper by doing a bit of journaling. Those racing thoughts will be gone, and your mind will be free of clutter, allowing you to fall asleep faster.
Creating a New You with Better Sleep
What’s the bottom line when it comes to getting better sleep? Don’t stress yourself out about it! You don’t want to worry yourself sick about not getting enough rest and actually make things worse by increasing your anxiety levels.
Give the above 20 tips for better sleep a try and see if you can’t just make the most of Better Sleep Month with a healthier, happier you in just 30 days. Chances are that you’ll be glad you made the time investment!
Looking for more sleep tips? Be sure to check out some of our most popular posts on getting the best rest of your life and learn how you can feel like a brand-new you, one night at a time.