We all feel so much better after a full night’s sleep, it’s amazing how much more alert, productive and happy we are. However, if falling asleep is a problem, you run the risk of not achieving that full night’s rest. If you have trouble falling asleep, you are not alone. Many people lie awake, trying to force themselves to sleep, wishing themselves to just doze off, hoping to manage a few hours before the alarm goes off.
Anxiety and worry are the biggest culprits in stealing your sleep. Along with worry are pain, age, uncomfortable mattress, room temperature, noise, lights, so many things we can actually take control of. Here’s some easy tips for you to try and get your sleep back on track.
Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time, every day and you should see some improvements. Establishing a routine will train your body clock and it will get used to the routine, just like any other routine. Not just your body clock, but you will start to look forward to going to bed, we are, after all, creatures of habit.
2. Eliminate Noise
We don’t have control over a lot of the noises and distractions that annoy us and keep us from our sleep. Start with the ones you can fix. Leaky faucet, loud clock, pets needing attention or humming from appliances. Repair or replace these items, assuming it’s feasible, or close the door to the rest of the house. For outside noises, thicker or reinforced windows can help soften the traffic, partying, barking dogs or car alarms and other city sounds. You can also invest in a white noise machine, designed to block out annoyances and provide a peaceful, steady signal of calming sound. These can also have other calming sounds, music, nature sounds, like rain or waterfalls, or animal sounds. Some may be more distracting, so choose what works.
3. No Devices
One of the biggest distractions for people who should be sleeping. It’s like a constant barrage of notifications, of entertainment, of all kinds of things happening that is stealing your sleep time. Don’t take them into the bedroom with you. Pick a certain time writing your scheduled bedtime to turn them all off and leave them out of reach. Not only is the beeping and blinking and constant noise it makes, the light acts as a stimulant to your brain and keeps you from getting drowsy. Unless it’s an emergency, do not take the phone, laptop, e-reader or any devices to the bed with you.
Exercise is always important, regardless of what kind. Whatever you can do or find time for is the right kind. Do heavier exercise in the morning or later in the day, but not close to bedtime. Running, weights, a good aerobic or cardio workout in the day gives you energy and will also tire you out at the end of the day.
Just like a good workout will help you sleep later, before bed, try some easy stretches or yoga moves. These can work wonders for loosening up stiff, sore muscles and easing the tensions of the workday away. Try them just before or after your warm bath to enhance their results. You don’t need to be an expert or even follow proper yoga moves to reap the benefits.
Try meditating through the day, but mostly before you go to bed. This will help you slow down your mind, your breathing and help you sleep. There’s a great little electronic sleep aid called the Dodow that can help with this by acting as a metronome.
Avoid too much caffeine, as this can really mess with your sleep. Try a warm bath before bedtime, to relax your mind and body. Use low lighting, like candles, scents and soft music if you like.
Try massage with your partner or self massage your feet, legs and neck. This will loosen you up and help you relax.
When you feel like you can’t sleep, keep trying. Don’t get up and turn on lights, just lie back and think about pleasant things.
It’s a good idea to set yourself up for morning, so you don’t worry about your work or if you have clean clothes or lunch items. Prepare all that the night before.