Lack of sleep is hazardous to your physical and mental health. It’s connected to a variety of health-related risks, including cardiovascular disease, depression, and car accidents.
Even though adults generally need at least seven hours of sleep each night, many Americans sleep for a shorter amount of time. The reasons are varied and include certain medical conditions, a high workload, elevated levels of stress, and a lack of effective sleep habits or strategies.
In many cases, using effective sleep strategies can improve the chances of falling asleep on time and enjoying a full night of rest. What are some of the hacks for better sleep you can try?
Follow a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. Adults benefit from sticking to a set of habits that will help ease them from wakefulness to sleep. Over time, these habits become a signal to the brain and body that you’re ready to turn in.
What might your bedtime routine look like?
• Try to prepare for sleep at roughly the same time each day
• Switch from alert mode to bedtime mode by turning off lights or relying on gentle lighting, such as a bedside lamp.
• Enjoy a relaxing activity. Some examples are taking a warm shower, listening to calm music, and reading in bed, assuming that what you’re reading isn’t disturbing, horrifying, or highly suspenseful.
• From about an hour before your bedtime, try to stay away from screens, particularly your smartphone or computer. If you absolutely need to check your phone, make an effort to avoid social media platforms or other sites that can suck you in and possibly make you angry or stressed out.
Watch What You Eat or Drink
Try not to drink anything caffeinated for about four to six hours before you plan on going to sleep. Food or drinks that are high in sugar can also keep you up and perhaps trigger cravings in the middle of the night.
If you think that hunger will disrupt your sleep, you can enjoy a snack before bedtime. It can be a piece of fruit or a slice of bread with some peanut butter. A heavy meal, however, may lead to acid reflux.
Regulate the Lighting in Your Home
Even in the middle of the night, light may be streaming through your windows from streetlights, passing cars, and nearby houses or commercial buildings. Wearing a comfortable eye mask and hanging up blackout curtains are two strategies for keeping your sleep environment darker.
The type of light you’re exposed to can also affect the quality of your sleep. Light that’s rich in shorter wavelengths is thought to be especially disruptive before your bedtime. This blue light may lead to lower melatonin levels. It can come from your tablet devices, smartphones, TVs, and LED lights.
Along with avoiding heavy screen use before bed, one solution is to install tunable LED lighting. It’ll allow you to change the color composition of the light whenever you want.
Regulate Your Bedroom Temperature
If your room is too cold or too hot and stuffy, you’ll probably struggle to sleep well. Air conditioning, fans, or leaving the window open a crack can help.
Check that you aren’t burying yourself under unnecessarily thick blankets or too many layers. Another solution is to use thermal curtains, which can help you save on energy costs while maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature.
Engage in Meditation
Calming your mind is one of the best ways to fall asleep. If you want to try meditation, there are a variety of techniques or practices that may prove useful to you.
Yoga Nidra, which you can perform while lying on your back, can bring deep relaxation to your body and possibly offer other health benefits. Basic breathing exercises also help with stress relief and sleep.
Another solution is to focus on calming visual imagery. For example, you can picture yourself on a quiet beach or on a bench in a peaceful garden.
Pick a Good Mattress
A mattress suited to your individual needs can prevent recurrent pain, discomfort, and interrupted sleep. Rely on reputable buying guides to help you with your selection.
See Also: 10 Easy Steps To Buying A New Mattress
Cut Down on Noise
Car alarms and loud neighbors are among the noise sources that can wreck your attempts at sleep. Some people find earplugs helpful or they use noise-canceling earbuds, headphones or headbands.
Machines that generate white noise may also be helpful. Another strategy is to hang an acoustic blanket over a window or shared wall to serve as a noise absorber.
Try Sleep Supplements
Before taking any supplements, it’s important to talk to your doctor. You need to check that the dose is healthy and that the supplement isn’t likely to interfere with any medications you’re taking. Two examples of sleep supplements that may be effective are melatonin and valerian.
Monitor Your Sleep With an App
Some people find apps useful in assessing the quality of their sleep. For example, Sleep Cycle will track the phases of your sleep and reportedly wake you up in the morning in a way that makes it easier for you to get out of bed.
Before using a sleep app, make sure you understand the limits of what it can do. The claims that an app company makes may not be backed by substantive scientific research, and apps don’t always collect accurate data.
What Works for You?
If none of the strategies here are working for you or if you have reason to suspect that a medical problem is disrupting your sleep, you should turn to a doctor for additional advice.
In general, you’ll find that building healthy habits in other areas of your life can improve the quality of your sleep. If you’re enjoying a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and finding beneficial ways to relieve stress, you’ll likely have an easier time sleeping.
That said, are there any strategies you’re using for a more restful night and an easier time falling asleep? Feel free to share your tips.
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Author: Jacky Lou
Coffee lover. Hipster-friendly webaholic. Typical travel aficionado. She loves decorating, finding the best eats (and drinks), and very enthusiastic with home interior designing and improvements.