Almost two years ago, we posted 11 tips on getting a good night’s sleep. While I have been working on my sleeping habits, I still have room for improvement.
It’s been proven that sleep, and getting enough sleep, has a huge impact on our overall health and well-being.
Modern life is filled with stress and so many distractions. I am guilty of watch TV or playing games on my phone while lying in bed. So, turn off the devices and use these 11 tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
Keep a sleep diary
To get a better idea of your sleep habits, write down what you do every day for at least two weeks. Keep track of what time you go to bed, how long it takes to fall asleep, how many times you wake up, and how you feel in the morning. You should also track what you eat and drink before bed and if you exercised that day. You might be surprised to see some patterns in your habits and how well you sleep.
Increase light exposure
Getting more sunlight during the day can help set your body’s clock and sleep-wake cycle. Soak up some sunlight in the morning. Try to spend more time outside during the day, even if it’s a few minutes at lunch or walking the dog after work. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to let in more sun.
Block the clock
When you go to bed, block the alarm clock. If you can’t glance at it in the middle of the night or start checking it in the early morning hours, you might find you get a more restful night’s sleep. Even the glow from your electronic devices, such as tablets and mobile phones, on the nightstand can interfere with sleep. The darker you keep the room, the better.
Turn on white noise
I sleep with a fan running at night. You can also use a sound machine to produce a low-level soothing sound. This white noise helps you tune out the noisy neighbors, a barking dog or the TV that’s on in another room.
Seal the mattress
If a runny nose, sneezing or itching is bothering you at night, your mattress could be the problem. You can develop dust mites, mold or other allergens. By using a plastic, dust-proof mattress cover, you can avoid these issues.
Get your neck in shape
If you wake up tired with a stiff neck, your pillow is probably to blame. Your pillow should keep your neck in a neutral position. It’s best to sleep on your back or side, since stomach sleeping can twist your neck.
Write down your troubles
What’s the most common sleep complaint? I can’t shut off my brain. Every night before bed, write down what’s on your mind. Make notes on chores you need to do, errands you need to run the next day, or calls that need to be made. I sit down with my day planner and jot down all the things I need do accomplish the next day at work. Then when my head hits the pillow, I don’t let myself think about it.
Create a wind down routine
In addition to writing a to-do list for the next day, you can also set your clothes out or pack what you need for work. Then, go through your bedtime ritual, such as washing your face, brushing your teeth or even taking a shower. Now it’s time to relax in bed with a book or practice deep breathing.
Stay put if you wake up
If you wake up in the night, stay in bed in the dark and do some deep breathing or visualize things that help you fall back to sleep. However, if you find that you’re worrying or becoming anxious, get up and do something quiet and relaxing until you feel sleepy again.
Review your medications
Some medicines for high blood pressure can cause insomnia, as well as antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft. If you’re having sleep troubles, you may want to discuss your medicines with your doctor.
Get it checked out
An occasional restless night is most likely normal. If you have difficulties sleeping or insomnia for more than a month, it might be time to take a deeper look. Chronic insomnia may merit a visit to the doctor to have your sleep habits evaluated.
Remember that everyone’s sleep habits are different. Finding out what works best for you may take some experimenting and learning by trial and error. Try some of these tips to discover the sleep formula that works best for you!