A Guide to Improving Your Sleep
Improving sleep can make all the difference to other aspects of your life. Here are some tips to do so and feel a lot better.
1. Adopt a regular sleeping schedule
Make an effort to get into and out of bed at the same time each night and morning respectively. You won't notice an immediate improvement in your sleep, as changes take time. However, maintaining good sleeping patterns for several weeks will ensure your sleep gets better. Find a schedule that works for you and don't deviate from it.
2. Don't under or oversleep
An average human adult needs around 8 hours sleep in every 24 hour period. Individual variations mean some people require slightly more and some slightly less. Perhaps surprisingly, a lot of people who suffer from poor sleep spend much more than 8 hours in bed each night. Unless you know your body naturally has above average sleep requirements, you need to limit the time you spend in bed to 8 hours max. If it takes you ages to fall asleep, try going to bed at a later hour. Keep in mind that small children need much more sleep than a typical adult.
3. Your bed in not an entertainment center
Try to keep your bed as a place for sleeping only and remove all distractions that can interrupt your sleep such as smartphones, tablets, handheld gaming devices, and portable music players. Ideally, you should not sleep with an electrical device, such as a TV or radio, on. You need to get your mind to associate your bed with sleeping. Avoid staying in your bed once you wake up.
4. Wind down before going to your bedroom
Make sure you are relaxed before you get into bed. Aim to sort out all problems before your bedtime. This could mean you have to set aside some mental worry time earlier in the evening. Use that time to reflect on the day's events and plan your course of action for the following day. Try to turn off all devices with electronic screens, including your laptop and TV, at least an hour before your bedtime. It's okay to exercise in the evening, but you should avoid it late at night. Seek out relation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, that work for you and incorporate them into your pre-bedtime wind-down time.
5. Is your sleeping space comfortable?
For the best night's sleep, your bedroom needs to be dark, quiet and not too hot or cold. You should also have comfortable bedding on your bed. Scratchy, heavy blankets and lumpy pillows are a nono.
6. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
While alcohol might help you to initially fall asleep, it is sure to cause disruption to your sleep as the night plays out. Meanwhile, nicotine and caffeine are potent stimulants, which can make it almost impossible to sleep when you hit your Stearns and Foster bed.
7. Cut out the daytime naps
If you sleep during the day, even just for a very short period of time, getting to sleep at night will be much harder. The only time you should indulge in daytime naps (limited to 20 minutes each) is if you had no sleep at all the night before due to work or a family emergency. Never let yourself drift into short naps while watching the TV.
8. Stop lying awake watching a clock
Lying in bed watching the time pass on a digital or analog clock will serve only to make your body too anxious to sleep, especially if you know you have to wake up by a certain time the next morning. If it's possible, remove all clocks from your bedroom, or at least use a device that doesn't have a backlight. If you need a clock in your bedroom for its alarm features, make sure it faces away from your bed. Resist the urge to check the time on your phone. You should ideally charge your smartphone in a different room so you can't take a quick look at the time without getting out of bed.
9. Only resort to sleeping pills in exceptional circumstances
Sleeping pills will not fix the underlying cause of insomnia. What's more, you can quickly build up a tolerance to them and eventually find it impossible to sleep without them.
10. Seek professional help
If you have made all the lifestyle changes needed to promote good sleep and you still find yourself having trouble sleeping, it is time to seek professional medical help. Book a consultation with your doctor. Many serious health conditions initially manifest as insomnia, so it pays to get yourself checked out by medical professionals.