Are you having trouble falling and staying asleep? Try these 10 tricks to help you get the best sleep ever.
10. Use Your Bed for Sleep and Sex ONLY
Do you engage in other kinds of activities in your bedroom, such as working, watching television or surfing the internet? If so, you need to stop right now. Why? Because it’s ruining your ability to sleep.
Instead, reserve your bed for sleeping and intimacy only. Doing so will help you build a strong mental association between your bed and sleep. But, if you absolutely must engage in other activities, make sure you keep them to a minimum.
9. Catch Some Rays
Did you know that exposure to morning light regulates your circadian rhythm? That’s what Namni Goel, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, says, according to an article published by House Beautiful.
That being the case, consider going for a brisk walk soon after you wake up. If going outside isn’t an option, try opening the blinds or windows to let in some natural light. If natural light isn’t an option, consider a light therapy box. You can talk to your doctor about using one.
8. Drown Out the Noise
It should come as no surprise that noise disrupts your sleep. Anything from nearby traffic to dripping faucets can keep you awake at night. But, there’s a solution to that: drown out the noise by creating a little noise of your own.
Although it might sound counterintuitive, it works. For example, just turning on a fan or the air conditioner can help drown out other sounds. You could also try using a white noise machine or app.
According to the Sleep Foundation, “many people enjoy falling asleep to the soothing hum of white noise, which consists of low-, medium-, and high-frequency sounds played together at the same intensity level. White noise effectively masks other sounds, making it helpful for people who live in loud neighborhoods.”
Of course, if all else fails, you can always try earplugs.
7. Monitor Your Caffeine Intake
Consuming too much caffeine during the day can keep you from falling asleep.
“For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night,” Harvard Health Publishing says, according to an article published by House Beautiful.
For most people, though, coffee in the morning is just fine. However, you will want to avoid caffeine in foods and drinks in the afternoons, the evenings and at night.
This includes avoiding coffee, tea, soda and even chocolate. Also, beware of certain medications– specifically pain relievers and weight loss pills. They can contain caffeine as well.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Nicotine
While alcohol can induce drowsiness, it can also lower sleep quality. That’s because after the initial drowsiness wears off, the alcohol itself will make you wake up more often at night.
As for nicotine, treat it like you would caffeine– it is, after all, a stimulant as well. It not only can keep you from falling asleep, but it can also actually make your insomnia worse.
Even if you personally don’t smoke, exposure to secondhand smoke can still disrupt your sleep. It has been associated with everything from difficulty falling asleep to fragmented sleep.
5. Try Aromatherapy
A study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that aromatherapy plays a key role in patients’ sleep quality. A total of 60 patients in coronary ICU participated in this study.
They were all administered a questionnaire at the beginning of the study, but only those in the intervention group were given 2% lavender essential oil via inhalation for 15 days.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the patients’ scores in the intervention group were significantly higher than at the beginning of the study.
In other words, inhaling the lavender essential oil increased their sleep quality while simultaneously reducing their anxiety levels.
4. Invest in Cooling Sheets
If you sweat a lot, you can really benefit from cooling sheets. They work in one of two ways. The first being, sheets with cooling technologies, which store and release heat throughout the night, keeping your body at a stable temperature.
Sheets with cooling fabrics have superior moisture-wicking properties and/or are more breathable, keeping you cooler and sweat-free.
Keep in mind that you’re going to have to pay a lot more for cooling sheets than you would for traditional bedsheets, with prices ranging from a few bucks (e.g., $31.99) to a few hundred bucks (e.g., $249.00). Still, it’s worth the investment because sleep is an important part of your overall health.
3. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning (yes, on the weekends, too) will regulate your circadian rhythm.
But, “erratic sleep messes with this biological timepiece, [so] set a bedtime and try to stick to it as often as possible,” House Beautiful wrote in an article on its website.
No doubt it will be hard at first to get your body into this routine, so if you find you’re not falling asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed, the Mayo Clinic suggests leaving your bedroom and doing something relaxing, like reading or listening to soothing music. Then, once you’re tired, go back to bed.
2. Kick Your Pets Out
Now, we don’t mean kick your pets out of your home. We mean to kick them out of your bed. Yes, we know that you love snuggling up with your pets just as much they love snuggling up next to you, but it really is keeping you from getting a good night’s rest.
For one thing, they are moving around at night and can keep you awake. Additionally, they bring allergy triggers such as fur, dander and fleas into your bed.
TIP: WebMD suggests asking your veterinarian (or an animal trainer) how you can teach your pet to sleep in his or her own bed.
1. See a Doctor
If you’ve done everything you can think of and you’re still not getting a good night’s rest, it may be time to see a doctor. Let them know everything about your sleep problems.
For example, are they persistent, worsening, affecting your health and safety, or occurring alongside other unexplained health problems?
This way, your doctor can run the necessary tests to find out if your sleep problems are due to an underlying health condition or are the result of any medication you’re currently taking.