Have you ever noticed that on the nights that you want to fall asleep quickly, you seem to toss and turn more than you do every other night? It's frustrating at best and can be downright infuriating if you're a clock-watcher. If you're one of those people, you're not alone. There are plenty of ways to help you get a better night's sleep, but what it boils down to in the end is making appropriate lifestyle changes and winding down before bed.
Check Out The Condition Of Your Mattress
How's your mattress looking these days? The rule of thumb always stated that you need to replace yours every ten years, but as technology has improved, so has the quality of your mattress. Springs and coils do wear out and can be damaging to your back, thus making a good night's rest a difficult task to achieve, but if you've got a better product such as a latex mattress or one made from memory foam then you can probably get more than ten years out of yours.
Some of the most common signs that you're going to need a replacement soon are pretty obvious, but they include:
- Discomfort and a disrupted quality of sleep. Do you wake up feeling achy and uncomfortable, not like you slept soundly?
- Sagging in the middle. If you wanted to sleep in a hammock you would have tied one between your trees, but if you've got a noticeable sag then that's a major red flag.
- You wake up with a runny nose, itchy eyes or scratchy throat. Yes, it's true: Your mattress could be collecting dust and pollen, making your allergies flare up and causing you to have a hard time breathing properly while you sleep.
After living with a lackluster bed for some time, you'll be amazed at the quality of sleep you can achieve when you get a new one. Don't underestimate how important a comfortable mattress is in your quality of sleep.
Unplug An Hour Or So Before Bedtime
Most people are guilty of this: Watching TV before going to bed, and then once you're in bed, you're staring at your phone for another 45 minutes before actually trying to go to sleep. Although we all do it, the fact is that it can seriously hinder your ability to sleep when you're looking at your phone before bedtime. Your brain has a difficult time coming down from all the stimuli you've thrown at it before trying to relax, making REM hard to achieve and keeping you in a light and uncomfortable sleep stage.
An hour or so before going to bed, find a calmer way to wind down than playing Candy Crush or updating your status. Try a form of relaxation that doesn't involve a screen like:
- Coloring (Adult coloring books are available just for bedtime)
You might think it's impossible to step away from your phone or computer 100%, but remember that there was a time before smartphones existed. Remind yourself that it's better for yourself and your health if you mute it and do something else before trying to go to sleep.
Start An Exercise Routine
Your doctor will happily list off the plethora of reasons that you should be exercising, but did you know that regular exercise is also a great natural way to help you sleep better? Working the excess energy out of your body can help you feel sleepy and more than ready to go to sleep when bedtime rolls around. If the idea of exercise makes you groan, don't despair: All you need to do is find a method that you enjoy.
Already relaxing on its own, yoga is a form of exercise that involves stretching and holding different poses for a specified duration. It is great for building flexibility and helping to control your breathing, plus there are many poses that are proven to help you sleep better and get there faster.
Your entire body gets a workout when you swim. The force of the water against the pressure of your body is a powerful way to build muscle mass, get your heart pumping and the blood flowing happily throughout your body.
Some people are born with natural rhythm, and if you're lucky enough to be one of those people then dancing is the perfect way to burn off excess energy and get you feeling good. Classes that might be fun include hip-hop, line dancing and yes, even pole dancing.
Beyond helping you get to sleep and feel like you've gotten a good workout, exercising benefits every part of you. You gain more confidence in yourself, you feel better and your blood and heart pump more easily.
End Bad Habits
Biting your fingernails isn't keeping you awake, but there are some other bad habits you might be doing to yourself that are making your nights much longer than they need to be. Put a stop to what's keeping you awake at night by having good sleep habits, which is known as 'sleep hygiene.'
Waking up is hard to do, and if you have the opportunity to nap during the day it can feel like the smartest choice you've ever made. Spoiler: It isn't! While it might feel refreshing at the moment you're cuddled up with your feather pillows and blankets, long naps disrupt your sleep schedule and prevent you from feeling sleepy at the correct time.
Don't Consume Caffeine Late In The Day
By all means, let your beloved bean juice give you the zing you need to get going in the morning. Coffee is God's apology to humanity for the mornings we are forced to wake up early, but don't go nuts with it. Limit yourself to only drinking caffeinated drinks in the morning and afternoon, but stop after threeish in the afternoon. Your mind and body need a chance to come down from the uppers you're feeding them so that you're tired by bedtime.
If you're a parent then you've seen up close how important a regular sleep schedule is for infants and young children. What makes you think that you grow out of that when you get older? Go to sleep at a regular time and wake up at a regular time every day. By doing this, you can help to retrain your brain and body and get them back to something resembling a normal sleep pattern.
A night of poor sleep is a struggle that all humans through time and space know. End your miserable nights of lying awake by developing new patterns and throwing out old ones. It takes some subtle lifestyle changes, but when you wake up feeling less like a troll then they are well worth it.
Sleeping is a precious resource to everybody, human and not. If you’ve had more trouble in being able to fall asleep or staying asleep make sure you contact your doctor and ask him or her further about your condition and ways you can cope with it. I hope these tips and info have been of your nourishment and aid you as you try to go to bed tonight.
Learn more about insomnia and download Alaska Sleep Clinic's FREE, downloadable e-book below. If you need than just a few habit adjustments to improve your sleep, call us today to get the answers, diagnosis and treatment you need.