Sleep is arguably one of the most important aspects of a healthy life as it helps our body rest and recover from the effects of the previous day and can also help us stay more awake, improve our mood and even benefits our overall health. Sadly, sleep is a harsh mistress that is hard to catch and can sometimes leave altogether, making us wonder: “What am I doing that isn’t letting me get enough sleep?”
Well, the short answer that something in your routine is hindering the process of your body going to bed. It doesn’t have to be anything specific either, anything that stimulates your mind will be enough to keep you turning and turning until you’re a sleepless mess and even leads to insomnia or other sleep related issues.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which you can help your body fall asleep better, there are many ways in fact, and we’ll be looking at some of them today.
Go to Bed Early
This one is obvious isn’t it? Well, if you want to get some more sleep and fall asleep earlier then the best place to start is to have an early bed time. Sleeping earlier can increase the quality of your sleep by allowing you to relax more. However, we are not just referring to turning in early for the night.
You see, humans value routines. Going to bed early by itself isn’t going to help your body get sleepier but if you at least keep a consistent bed time, your body will associate the time with sleeping and will, in turn, get sleepier when the hour approaches. The tough part about this method is that it all depends on whether you can make a routine out of it.
Don’t Do Anything that Winds You Up
Like we said before, stimulating activities can significantly affect our body’s chances of getting sleep and this is more so the closer we get to bed time. For example, say that you decide to have a quick workout session before you go to sleep or maybe you have a lot of work the next day, and you’d want to get a head start. Now, ideally this should help you get more sleep, one destresses and tires your body out while the other helps you get rid of that nagging thought that would otherwise keep you awake.
But that is not the case. Doing those things right before you head to bed causes your body to get wound up, so if you decide to go to sleep while coming down from the high of these activities, all you’ll get is a sleepless night (or at least more trouble falling asleep). It doesn’t even have to be either of those things; even a shower can influence whether it’s easier for you to fall asleep or not.
You should stop and finish any work or such activities at least an hour before you go to bed as this gives your body enough time to relax, ending with a good night’s sleep as well as a sense of accomplishment of finishing such activities for the day.
Turn Off Your Digital Devices
The blue light from computers and smartphone screens are specifically designed to stimulate your brain and what happens when we stimulate our minds before bed? That’s right: nothing happens because we’re too wound up to fall asleep.
So, much like with exercise and working, you’re recommended to turn your screens off at least an hour before you go to bed to allow your body to wind down. You can help speed the process along by reading something that’s a little less stimulating, such as a book or listening to calming music.
Don’t Eat or Drink Anything Heavy
We’ve all fallen prey to a little midnight snack; in fact, we’ve got an article where we go more into detail as to why we do it. But the truth of the matter is, eating anything before bed affects your chances to fall asleep as well, mainly because it keeps your digestive system active.
It’s not limited to food either. Drinking alcohol before bed also influences your chances of falling asleep, sure it makes you woozy but it also makes you buzzed, and its effects will only go towards making you fall asleep once you start coming down from it. Another obvious suspect is coffee, where the caffeine’s job is to keep you awake and energised.
But it isn’t just coffee you should worry about. Even tea can keep you awake if drunk on excess. Black and green teas, in particular, have similar levels of caffeine to coffee. Even drinking a lot of water could affect your sleep with the need of going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
We don’t mean to say that you should completely do away with tea and water, in the case of water you should make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and lower the amount you drink as your bedtime gets nearer. Whereas with tea, you can try and put a teabag in a cup of water and then take it out, essentially getting rid of most of the caffeine in the bag, before putting it in your main cup to drink.
Check the Medicines You Take
For better or worse, medicines can also mess up our sleep schedules whether we want it or not. This doesn’t extend to all drugs, but some, such as antidepressants can have the side effect of either making us sleepier or sometimes even keep us alert.
The best you can do to solve this issue would be to talk to your doctor about the dosage of your medications and whether there are any ways to counteract its effects. It’s advised that you do this before taking sleeping pills as well since those are meant to be rarely taken and can lose their effect with time if your body doesn’t need them.
It might still be hard to get that perfect sleep even with all these tips, that’s why you should relook the way you sleep as every little change can make a difference.
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