We’ve all been there:
Lying in bed, tossing from side to side, trying to shut our thoughts out, and failing. Minutes turn to hours, and, before we know it, morning has come, and we’ve barely gotten any sleep.
Just as we feel ourselves drifting away, the alarm clock cuts through the silence, forcing us to get out of bed and face the day.
What follows is rarely pleasurable because let’s face it:
Not getting enough sleep is terrible. We feel tired, irritable, unmotivated, and unproductive.
The good news is that we can employ some tactics to improve our sleep and quality of life.
1. Optimize Your Sleeping Environment
While most people rarely think about it, our sleep environment plays a massive role in our ability to fall asleep easily and get enough deep rest.
Specifically, you need to be mindful of the:
- Cool - research shows that we tend to sleep best at temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F (18-21 degrees C).
- Dark - a good set of blackout curtains can help.
- Quiet - keep your window closed during the night. If that’s not possible, you might want to invest in a pair of earplugs.
- Comfortable - it’s good to invest a bit of money in a quality mattress and pillows that support your body and allow you to sleep well.
- Create a Pre-Bed ‘Power Down’ Routine
How you spend the last hour before bed can play a significant role in your ability to fall asleep. Specifically, you might want to consider a pre-bed ‘power down’ routine that makes you relaxed and gets you in the mindset of sleeping.
Fantastic activities include reading, taking a bath or shower, meditating, journaling, and stretching your muscles. Bundle them together, and you’ll see a significant difference.
- Cut Alcohol And Caffeine Out
While the occasional nightcap might seem like a great way to relax your mind and fall asleep more easily, research disagrees.
According to studies, drinking even small amounts of alcohol shortly before going to bed can disrupt our ability to get enough deep restorative sleep. Sure, we might fall asleep more quickly, but that could come at the expense of sleep quality. So, it’s best to avoid alcohol for at least a couple of hours before going to bed.
Caffeine is also a bad idea if you want to sleep well. Research shows that caffeine has a half-life of around six hours. Meaning, if you ingest 300 mg at 4 PM, you’ll still have some 150 mg coursing through your system around 10 PM. So, it’s best to avoid any caffeine within eight hours of bedtime.
- Follow a Consistent Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is one of the best ways to improve sleep quality and add structure to your days.
By going to bed at the same time, your body naturally begins to associate the specific time with sleep. So, you naturally relax more and typically find it easier to fall asleep. The same goes for waking up:
By doing it at the same time each day, your body naturally becomes more alert come time to get up, which makes it easier for you to tackle each day.
So set a consistent schedule and do your best to follow it every day.
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