For anyone who has ever struggled to get through their days, you likely know the difficulties of feeling overtired. While getting a good night’s rest is something that so many adults hope for, it can be easier said than done. If you aren’t getting the sleep that you want and need, here are a few tips to help you achieve a more restful and restorative slumber.
Your Body’s Natural Cycle
If you aren’t getting a restful snooze, there may be disturbances in your body’s natural sleep cycle. It can often be difficult to pinpoint where the problem is; however, you may be able to find solutions through the use of supplements like thrive patch. Whether your body is out of tune and you need to give your whole system a kickstart, it is time to try the thrive experience and other supplements to support healthy sleep.
Snacks and Meals Before Bedtime
Your diet can play a pivotal role in your ability to sleep and this becomes even more influential when your meals are timed too close to your bedtime. Eating close to when you fall asleep can leave you susceptible to food-induced interruptions. By eating too close to your bedtime, you jumpstart your digestive system and everything from acid reflux to an increase in your sugar intake can disrupt your slumbers. Make sure that you avoid the rich desserts and move your mealtime to at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Food is not the only inhibitor in your sleep schedule. For those who enjoy caffeinated or alcoholic beverages regularly, these may present a unique challenge when you go to fall asleep. Caffeine may be an obvious deterrent, due to the stimulation and alertness that it can trigger; however, did you know that excessive amounts of caffeine regardless of the time of day can interrupt your rest? While alcohol often has the opposite effect of caffeine, alcohol causes disturbances to your natural cycles. You need to avoid sleep inhibiting foods, liquids, and activities.
Be Wary of Naps
For those who struggle with chronic daytime sleepiness, you may be tempted to take naps; however, this can lead to impaired dormancy later on. Not only can your body become accustomed to sleeping during the day, but if you sleep too long, you may find yourself unable to rest in the evenings. While naps can be beneficial if unmanaged they can have a counterintuitive effect. Make sure that you monitor your napping and be wary of the potential for it to inhibit your nighttime rest.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Physical exercise can cause a similar response to other stimulants and amp you up. Getting your heart rate up and blood flowing is an important part of staying healthy and well; however, this heightened state can work counterproductively when timed to close to your bedtime. Consider scheduling your workouts for earlier in the day, so that you can hit this heightened state with enough time to relax before bed. If you time this correctly, working out can actually lead to a better night’s sleep and benefit your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Powering Down Earlier
Other areas of your life may be exciting your brain without you knowing it. If you watch television, scroll through your phone or use other digital devices, you may be exposing yourself to blue light that will make it harder to fall asleep and get to a restorative state. If you use screens before bed, try to power down at least one hour in advance and if you cannot do that, turn on a blue light filter to help you get to a state where you can fall asleep more easily.
Healthier Bedtime Routines
If you thought that bedtime routines were only for children, you are very wrong. Healthy sleep hygiene that will greatly impact your overnight experience. If you want to create a positive routine, consider taking time to wind down before you get ready for bed. Whether you integrate a mindfulness practice, journaling in a gratitude journal, reading or taking a warm shower, you need to stick to a consistent routine every day. This sends a signal to your brain that you are getting ready to unwind and get ready to go to bed. Your brain will recognize the consistency of this process and prepare your body for sleep.
Part of sleep hygiene encompasses your consistent schedule; however, part of your sleep hygiene also includes your physical environment. Everything from the linens on your bed to the temperature to the sounds and light in your room can affect your overall sleep hygiene. As you arrange your space, make sure that it is set up as a snooze sanctuary. Don’t let yourself multitask in this room and watch television or spend countless hours hanging out in your bedroom if you can help it, and save this space just for sleep. If you need some help in this area, integrate some soothing essential oils like lavender and relaxing white noise like waves crashing. These can help set the tone that is perfect for your slumbers.
An Earlier Bedtime
Many adults recognize that a major influence in their sleepy state comes from going to bed too late; however, many adults find themselves dealing with this problem consistently and without end. Going to bed earlier can be so much easier said than done. Instead of setting an unrealistic expectation for yourself, consider moving your bedtime up 15 minutes earlier every day until you get to where you need to be so that the process is gradual and manageable.
Frustration With Falling Asleep
It is also not uncommon to strive to get to bed earlier and follow all of these steps and to feel frustrated when you can't fall asleep; however, the frustration can work against you. If you find yourself sitting in bed and staring at the ceiling with no reprieve, after 20 minutes, get up and move around. Don’t do anything overly stimulating like checking your cell phone or exercising, but instead, get out of bed and take the time to do something relaxing like reading a book, meditating, drawing or journaling. Then, you can try again in another few minutes. Never push yourself to go to fall asleep.
For those who struggle with daytime sleepiness, finding a solution to your slumber-related issues can be an ongoing battle. You don’t need to suffer through snooze buttons and hazy, sleepy days. Here are some tips and tricks to try to help you achieve a more restful respite, but don’t forget that if you have long-term trouble, you can always visit a doctor for their professional opinion, as well. While there are plenty of strategies out there, you need to find the right fit for you.
How to tell if you have a sleep disorder
If you think your sleep problems are more than you can fix alone, you may have a sleep disorder, it's best to discuss your symptoms and concerns with your primary care physician.
Some common questions that your doctor might ask are:
Do you snore?
Have you ever been told you stop breathing or gasp in your sleep?
Do you feel sleepy during the daytime?
Do you have difficulty staying awake when sitting still, watching TV, or reading?
Do you fall asleep or feel tired while driving?
Have difficulty concentrating or focusing during the day?
Do you require caffeine to stay awake during the day?
Does leg restlessness keep you awake?
Do you feel like your sleep is restful such that you feel restored in the morning?
Do you have asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems?
Do you have high blood pressure or take medicine for that problem?
Have you ever had heart problems or heart disease?
Have you had congestive heart failure?
Have you had a stroke?
- What is your height, weight, neck circumference?
Do you have insomnia?
Answering yes to some of these questions can be a strong indicator of a sleep disorder. However, for sleep disorders to be properly evaluated, a sleep study is required to not only diagnose sleep disorders, but also rule out other potential causes of sleep problems.
If you're ready to finally get to the bottom of your sleep troubles, contact your primary care physician and discuss with them your symptoms and concerns. If you live in Alaska and want to have a sleep study performed, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic by clicking the link below to receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with one of our sleep educators.