Sleep.We all want it.
For some it’s easier achieved than for others. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, sleep is a necessity. We all know the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep…energy, happiness, and health, just to name a few.
How much sleep should we get a night? We’ve all heard we should have an average of eight hours. But, your lifestyle may not always allow that to happen. So, whether it’s six hours, eight hours, or more (if you’re really lucky), you might as well make it the best sleep you can get.
If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, some of your nightly habits may actually be working against you at bedtime. Here are seven things you can do to catch more z’s:
7 Steps to Getting Better Sleep
1. Get on a Schedule & Stick to It
While it may be tempting to sleep in on the weekends, you’re actually doing your body more harm than good. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps your body’s sleep-wake cycle therefore giving you a better night’s sleep.
2. Power Down & Log Off
Whether we’re walking, talking, working, or playing, it seems like we are always plugged into technology. It doesn’t matter if you’re emailing, watching a video, or checking your Facebook feed, when you are logged on, so is your brain. If your brain is going a million times a minute, it will be hard for it to rest. One hour before bed, you should turn off all electronics so your brain can power down and you can get a better night’s sleep.
3. Watch Your Diet
If you want to get a good night’s sleep, common sense will tell you not to have a cup of coffee. You should also avoid nicotine and alcohol. The effects of all three of these take hours to wear off…certainly not enough time for you to sleep well.
Research shows people who have some kind of physical activity sleep better at night. If exercise revs you up too much be sure not to do it too close to bedtime. Doing this would reverse the good effects exercise can have on your sleep.
5. Take Time to Wind Down
You can’t expect to fall asleep within seconds of deciding you want to rest. You need to give your body time to decompress. Take a warm shower, prepare for the day ahead, brush your teeth…anything that slows the body down and tells it that it is time to sleep.
If you try to go from 100mph to 20mph in a matter of seconds, your body will not respond well and you won’t get a good night’s sleep.
6. Smell Your Way to Sleep
Some people like to smell lavender or chamomile before bed because of their relaxing scents. Those types of scents apparently trigger some brain waves that lead to relaxation. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you may want to try a spritz on your pillowcase.
7. Watch Your Naps
If you’re lucky enough to grab a quick nap in the afternoon, be sure it’s just that…quick. Napping for more than twenty minutes could wreak havoc on your night time sleep. Also, be sure not to nap within eight hours of your bedtime. Chances are you won’t be able to sleep well at all.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try one, two or more of these little tips. The key is to find out what works best for you. Goodnight and sweet dreams!