Sleep is critical in ensuring that our bodies get the rest we need. If you get enough high quality sleep, you can face anything that’s thrown your way when you wake. Your body heals, your mind relaxes, and all the stress evaporates. Unfortunately, most people don’t get to enjoy a good night’s sleep, for a number of reasons.
If we don’t get the sleep that we need, we tend to be very cranky and restless the following day. You tend to be more irritable and unproductive, so not getting enough sleep is really detrimental, no just in the short run but also in the long run.
The good news is, you can do something about it. You can actively make sure that you’re sleeping like a pro, with the following tips:
1. Check if your mattress is sleep-conducive.
Just because it’s a mattress doesn’t mean it will help you fall asleep. In some cases, old and faulty mattresses can even be counterproductive. If it won’t keep you from falling asleep, you might end up with sore muscles and feel even more tired the following day.
Making sure you have a good mattress is really important. Far from being picky like the princess and the pea, it’s more of ensuring that your body is getting the support and comfort that it needs through your mattresses and pillows. You spend a lot of time in your bed, so you better make sure you have the right one.
2. Make your bedroom truly a bedroom.
While a bedroom is supposed to be a place of relaxation, many of us make it the exact opposite by filling it with all kinds of unnecessary things. If you really want good quality sleep, first make sure that your bedroom is actually a place where you can relax.
For one, don’t bring your work to your bedroom and make it strictly a place of relaxation. If you can keep the television out, do so as well. Make sure that you have soft lighting available. Make sure it’s ventilated properly, and free of noise and other external disturbances.
3. Exercise, but not before bedtime.
Exercise is not only vital to your overall health, it will also help you sleep better. Exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol, improves your blood circulation, and helps you breathe better. It rids your body of toxins and helps you feel more relaxed. Just don’t do it before bedtime.
The key to exercise is timing, so if you can, do it at the beginning of your day or sometime in the afternoon. If you really have no choice but to exercise at night, try to do it at least three hours before you plan to sleep. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you’ll be so pumped up with energy, you’ll hardly be able to sleep at all.
4. Tell that cup of coffee: tomorrow is another day.
Maybe you’re craving for that one last cup of coffee, or even a nightcap. Control yourself. Be smart about what you eat and drink before bedtime, because this can really affect the quality of your sleep. If you’re too stuffed, your digestive system will work extra hard and you won’t be able to get a good night’s rest.
The caffeine from coffee or sodas should also be avoided, at least four to six hours before you plan to sleep. You should also time your nicotine and alcohol intake properly, so it won’t disrupt your sleep. Even water should be minimized because you don’t want to be getting up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet.
5. Establish a sleeping schedule and stick to it.
You have an internal body clock, and the more you disrupt it or confuse it, the less restful your sleep will be. Ideally, you should examine your lifestyle and set a realistic sleeping schedule. Sleep the same time every night, and wake up the same time every morning. This regularity will improve the quality of your sleep.
6. Turn off your devices.
It’s definitely tempting to keep your mobile phone, tablet, or whatever other device beside you when you sleep, but these devices are not helpful at all. In fact, you should already avoid bright screens and harsh light 1 to 2 hours before you plan to sleep.
7. Relax your mind and body.
Instead of looking at your Facebook feed, you should use the last few minutes of wakefulness trying to relax your mind and body. Close your eyes and do deep breathing exercises, visualizing a place that’s peaceful and calming. Stop worrying and stressing about the things that happened during the day, and prevent yourself from brainstorming or thinking about things that will only keep your mind active.