From personal productivity levels to general quality of life, there’s no denying the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately however, knowing that sleep is important and actually getting more of it are two very different things.
Our bodies don’t always agree with us when we announce that we’re going to bed early tonight. And the result is a whole lot of sleep deprived people suffering from both premature aging and an increased susceptibility to stress.
Should you find yourself living life like a zombie, here are ten simple tips for getting more sleep.
Check Your Caffeine Intake
First off, there’s the small matter of coffee, it has an unfortunate habit of causing insomnia. And contrary to popular belief, it affects different people in different ways.
While most people can abstain from coffee after six pm and sleep without a problem, for others, a six pm cup will leave them buzzing until three in the morning. If you think that you might be sensitive to caffeine, test the theory with a coffee free day.
Never Sleep By Day
If you want to sleep at night, the last thing that you should do is sleep by day. Anything more than a twenty minute catnap and you’re going to start confusing your body. And as you can probably guess, confused bodies tend not to sleep when they are supposed to.
Provided you get the timing right, thirty minutes of exercise each day can work wonders for sleep problems. Exercise can not only make it easier to fall asleep, it can make the actual sleep that you do get significantly deeper. The key is to get your workout done early in the day. Working out in the evening can actually stimulate your body and make it harder, not easier, to sleep.
Experiment with Earplugs
If you live in a big city, or happen to sleep next to somebody who snores, head to your local pharmacy and invest in a pair of earplugs. Complete silence will not only help you to drift off, it tends to encourage deeper, more restful sleep.
Banish Light from Your Bedroom
Don’t underestimate the ability of tiny lights to keep you awake at night. Take a look around your bedroom and try to locate any and all light sources. Unplug everything electrical and make sure that your curtains cover your windows completely. Ideally, you will want a bedroom that is literally pitch black.
Stop Watching Television in Bed
It’s not just your bedroom lighting that can affect your sleep patterns but also what you actually do there. Bedrooms should be used exclusively for two purposes, sex and sleep. By limiting what you do in your bedroom to these two activities, your body will slowly begin to associate the room with relaxation and rest.
Stick to Your Schedule
Sleeping in at the weekend might be leisurely but it’s well known for wreaking havoc with midweek sleeping patterns. While it’s certainly easier said than done, try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time seven days per week. Nobody likes waking up early on a Sunday but your body will thank you for it on Tuesdays.
Learn to Unwind
Contrary to popular belief, television isn’t actually all that relaxing. It stimulates the mind and is therefore one of the last things that you should be doing before attempting to drift off. Instead of watching television, experiment with reading, writing or even taking a bath. When you find something that helps you sleep, get into the habit of doing it every night before bed. Eventually, your body will begin to associate the activity with sleep.
Don’t Eat Late at Night
Try to stop eating at least four hours before you go to sleep. Otherwise you run the risk of forcing your body to digest food when it’s supposed to be relaxing. Late night snacks can not only make it more difficult to drift off, they can even dampen the quality of the sleep that you eventually get.
Don’t Rely on Alcohol
It’s not uncommon for people with sleep problems to turn to alcohol for help. Unfortunately, this generally leads to two pretty serious problems.
- Alcohol induced sleep is not the same as regular sleep. When you drift off after a few drinks, you don’t sleep as deeply and you tend to wake up a lot more often.
- Secondly, the more you drink to get to sleep, the more difficult it can become to sleep without alcohol.
In other words, when it comes to sleep patterns, alcohol tends to do more harm than good.
About the Author:
Kersti Kroon is an employee of Krown Hypnotherapy and she helps people reduce their stress using hypnosis. In her free time, she likes to read books and go for a swim.