Top Tips to Getting the Sleep of Your Dreams
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and stimulants for several hours before bed
Alcohol may help you fall asleep more quickly, but it can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep. Caffeine takes hours to wear off so it’s best avoided altogether if you’re having trouble sleeping. Avoid sugary foods late at night as these can cause problems with insomnia.
Reduce exposure to blue light in the evenings
Evidence suggests that exposure to artificial light in the evening hours could be messing with our sleep. In order to fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly, your body needs a lot of darkness. This means avoiding electronics that emit blue light, such as smartphones and tablets. Blue light from electronics inhibits your body from producing melatonin, which makes it hard for you to fall asleep when you want to. The best way to combat this is by reducing or eliminating your exposure to blue light-emitting devices three or four hours before bedtime.
Stay away from midday naps
Midday naps can interfere with sleep at night. The shift in circadian rhythms that occurs when you fall asleep during the day can cause problems when it’s time for bed. If you feel sleepy in the afternoon, try to stay active until your body kicks in to counteract it. Naps can make you less alert, change your body temperature, and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Studies have shown that consistent bedtimes and wake times are associated with better sleep. Experts recommend getting to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends, so your body can get into a regular pattern of sleep. Sleeping better can be the difference between a productive day and a bad one. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep, but if you’re getting less than that, it can really affect your mood and productivity. Here’s how to get a good night’s sleep: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends. This will help your body acclimate to a sleep rhythm.
Keep it cold!
One of the most common sleep myths is also one of the most easily addressed: the room temperature. Keeping your room too hot or too cold can make it hard to sleep well. A bedroom’s temperature should be similar to that of a comfortable living room — cool enough to help you fall asleep but not so cold that you wake up shivering. Of course, it’s not always practical to adjust the thermostat before bedtime. If you tend to feel warm in your sleep, try using a cooling pillow or mattress pad to help improve your personal climate throughout the night.
Find the right pillow for your sleep position
Poor posture, pain or discomfort in our sleeping environment can also interfere with our ability to get a good night’s rest. Pillows come in all shapes and sizes, so experiment with different pillows until you find one that is comfortable for you. If you are sleeping on your back, your head should be supported by a pillow that keeps your spine aligned properly. If you are sleeping on your side, use a pillow that fills the space between your ear and shoulder blades, but doesn’t push against the base of your neck. If you are sleeping on your stomach, use a thin pillow that cradles your head but doesn’t put any pressure on your neck or spine. Adjust the height of your head using multiple pillows if needed.
Work in a regular work out
Both exercise and a good night’s sleep are important for overall health. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, poor productivity, and a weakened immune system. Exercise improves cardiovascular health and mental health and can help manage stress. Studies have found that people who exercise regularly also have better quality of sleep. Don’t exercise too late in the day. Exercise makes your body temperature rise, combating the natural sleep cue of a dropped body temperature. Exercising right before bed is too stimulating for most people because it raises your heart rate and adrenaline levels.
Wind down from work or school
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Be sure to finish work or school tasks at least two hours before hitting the hay. Clear your mind of upcoming tasks. It’s hard to relax if you’re thinking about things you have to do or are worried about events that are unfolding in your life. During the day, make a plan of action for your day tomorrow and any other tasks that need to be completed. At night, put the plan aside and clear your mind so you can sleep peacefully.
Experiment with background noise
There’s nothing like a quiet, peaceful night of sleep to relax your mind and body. But if you’re like most people, it can be difficult to fall asleep sometimes. If you feel like you can’t sleep because there’s too much on your mind, try some white noise or calming music.
White noise is background sound that consists of many different frequencies at the same time, so it’s gentle on the ears. Calming music has fewer frequencies than white noise, but they are more soothing. Most people who have difficulty sleeping prefer softer music with no lyrics. Instrumental music is ideal if you’re not one to enjoy silence while falling asleep.
Try sleep-focused stretches
The soothing effects of yoga are well documented. Studies show that poses like Child’s Pose and Savasana, or “corpse pose,” can lower stress levels and slow heart rates, which helps to induce sleep. Research has shown that postures that focus on opening up your chest and upper back can help ease anxiety. Forward bends with your torso over your thighs, like Cat-Cow pose, also help to improve mood. You’ll feel more relaxed and less tense after you do these poses for a minute or two before bed.