People with insomnia find it hard to get a good night’s rest. If you’re one of them, finding a good solution requires figuring out the cause. Depression, stressful events, and anxiety disorder are some of the reasons why people struggle with their sleep.
Unfortunately, discovering the root of your concern could take a while, and might even require lots of introspection. Well, to make things easier while you haven’t yet found the answer, consider following these tried-and-tested sleep tips:
Have a Schedule and Stick to It
Your body follows a regulatory system that dictates the time to sleep and wake up. This is called the circadian rhythm, which experts also call the body’s internal clock.
What you need to do here is to follow a strict schedule for sleeping. Once the body is conditioned or accustomed to the schedule, you will start yawning and feeling sleepy whenever your set sleep time approaches.
Give yourself around 30 minutes to wrap up the day, ending all activities and relaxing your way to a trouble-free sleep. While you’re waiting for the 30-minute period to lapse, do relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation.
Choose the Right Mattress
Your mattress has a huge impact on how well you sleep, and if it’s uncomfortable and puts you in pain, you aren’t getting the rest you need. It’s bad enough to wake up tired and grumpy in the morning, but matters can be made worse if you wake up with back or neck pain.
Take the time to find the right mattress that allows you to be comfortable and sleep without tossing and turning. A Mattress-buying checklist might be handy if you don’t know where to start.
If you can’t afford a new mattress at the moment, then investing in a good topper might do the trick. You might also consider getting new pillows to help you get some better sleep at night.
Bathe in Bright Light during the Day
Exposure to natural light and bright lights in general, particularly at daytime, will help maintain a normal and healthy circadian rhythm. This results in improved daytime energy and nighttime sleep duration and quality.
There are studies that prove the power of bright light in supporting proper sleep. One such study revealed that people with increased bright light exposure during the day fell asleep faster, by as much as 83%.
In another study, it was discovered that those with enough exposure to bright light had longer sleep durations. More importantly, they showed improvements in sleep efficiency, which is the ratio between the total time in bed and the actual duration of asleep.
Manage both Sight and Sound
If you’re easily bothered by visual stimuli, invest in blackout curtains or sleep masks or anything that can block your sight. However, if you need a bit of light to feel safe enough to sleep, try using a nightlight or colored lighting.
As for sound, you’ll have to choose between total silence and ambient noise. If you find the latter comforting, simply get a white or pink noise machine. If you have an extra set of speakers lying around, you could probably turn it into a good-enough substitute.
On the other hand, if you prefer complete silence, earplugs should be an excellent solution since they’re capable of blocking out all kinds of noises.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Simply put, caffeine can keep you awake while alcohol can lower the quality of your sleep. What’s more, caffeine can remain in your system longer than you think—it could take as long as 8 hours to completely wear off.
Thus, if you toss and turn at night and you’re wondering why that’s happening, think back and check if you drank coffee during your late-afternoon break.
When it comes to alcohol, there’s this notion that it’s good at putting people to sleep. Yes, alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it won’t be the kind that can be considered restful. Why’s that? Well, too much alcohol will keep your kidneys working hard at night.
Eat Right, Sleep Tight
Don’t go to bed hungry. However, you should also avoid having a heavy meal before bedtime.
Being really full can keep you up, and if you ever fall asleep even in that condition, your stomach will keep on grinding throughout the night. You’ll eventually wake up feeling tired instead of rested.
Plan your meals carefully, with the goal of getting better sleep.
For protein, go for things like tuna, almonds, eggs, and walnuts. When it comes to fruits and veggies, apricot, banana, pumpkin, and avocado are great picks. Carb sources like oats and potatoes are good as well. Milk, by the way, has tryptophan, a sleep-inducing substance.
Avoid drinking anything two hours before your scheduled bedtime. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to pee at night—and there’s even the chance that you’d have to go a couple of times.
The Bottom Line
Again, the best ways of putting yourself to sleep depend on the exact reasons why you’re having a hard time falling asleep in the first place.
But, considering how these tips work on multiple levels and affect you in various ways, following several (or better yet, all) of them will likely yield results.
Chris Nguyen is the Founder & Chief Editor at Sleep Standards – A health blog that provides research-based sleep health advice, actionable sleep tips, and unbiased sleep product reviews. He aims to inspire better sleep and make the world of sleep easy to understand for everyday people. Check out SleepStandards.com to find out more about Chris and his work. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.”