Sleep is vital. And yet almost 50 percent of adults experience occasional insomnia while 1 in 10 has chronic insomnia.
If you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or can’t go back to sleep after waking in the night, and consequently feel tired the next day, chances are you are experiencing sleep deprivation.
Perhaps you’re stressed, or you’ve developed a bad sleep routine—one way or the other you’re not getting the sleep you need which will affect your short and long-term health.
But luckily, you can embrace a good bedtime routine which will give you a good night’s sleep.
1. Relaxing Evening Schedule
Whether it is reading a book, listening to some calming music, or having a nice warm bath, begin your relaxing evening schedule at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. This way you are signaling to your body that it’s time to settle down.
Your sleep ritual should include calming activities so that it helps you unwind.
Avoid stimulating activities like aerobic exercises, doing work, and watching TV.
Most people love using their computers, laptops, and smartphones late at night. If you are one of them, then this habit will stimulate your brain and keep you awake longer. The light emitted from these devices is known to disrupt your internal body clock.
Also, if you stay up late working, you are more likely to carry that stress with you during the night which results in disrupted sleep.
It is a good idea to put away all your devices at least one hour before your bedtime.
2. Comfortable Sleep Environment
The light and temperature of your bedroom make a big difference to your sleep.
Ideally, the temperature of your room should be cool, between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in this range lower the body’s core temperature and initiates sleepiness.
Your bedroom should also be free from any light. Exposure to light affects your biological clock and signals your internal clock to wake up. It decreases melatonin production, also known as the sleep hormone, which is needed for a good night’s sleep.
It’s an excellent idea to initiate your relaxing sleep routine by turning down the lights so that your body starts producing melatonin.
Use blackout curtains to keep out unwanted light from outside and if you need a nightlight consider putting it in the hallway or using a red light which is shown to be less disruptive to sleep.
Check your room for noises and other distractions and use earplugs if you live in a noisy area.
Make sure that you sleep on a comfortable mattress that provides adequate support to your body and use pillows which are ideal for your sleep position.
3. Relaxation Practices
If you find yourself constantly thinking about your worries and your stresses while you try to sleep, then you should practice some relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness breathing.
Mindfulness techniques trigger a relaxation response which helps ease stress, leading to better sleep.
Here is an excellent article on meditation techniques you can try tonight.
Another method to beat stress is to write down your worries and make a to-do list before bed. This helps you fall asleep faster than those who don’t follow this practice.
You can even start journaling just before bedtime. Start a gratitude journal or write about positive events. Dedicate 15 minutes to this activity which helps relieve stress and redirect your thoughts.
Over time you will begin to associate journaling as a relaxing activity signaling the beginning of bedtime.
4. Sleep Schedule
Maintain the times that you go to sleep and wake up on weekdays, and even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body clock so that you can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night.
Another vital point to keep in mind is that you should not try to force yourself to fall asleep. Its normal to take about 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep and if you are still awake after that time, then get out of bed and go to another room with dim lighting and practice your calming sleep routine.
Come back to bed when you begin to feel drowsy.
Sleep Well Again
Try out these practices and see which techniques suit you the best.
Find more simple science-backed solutions to sleeping better in Sleep Well Again—a life-changing book by stress and sleep expert Doc Orman, M.D. You will learn more about your sleep cycle and how to determine the causes of your sleeping difficulties. Most of all, Dr. Orman will show you exactly what to do to get better sleep.
As you begin to incorporate these techniques in your daily routine, you will find yourself transitioning to better sleep.
You can buy Sleep Well Again at Amazon.