How To Get Your Best Night's Sleep

Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash

As we get older, we start to cherish certain things that, as a kid, just seemed to be a nuisance. Sleep is most definitely on the list of things that we become more grateful for the older we get. Unfortunately, it is harder to get a full night's rest the older we get as well making life a little more ironic than we care for. There are some who can easily fall asleep and stay sleeping throughout the night and some who have trouble getting to sleep. When it comes to rest, we all have different patterns and, being on the top priority list for health, make it all the more fascinating for the people who study the topic.

Some of you out there honestly might have sleeping disorders in which case just following these little steps might not be enough to help. If you have struggled with falling asleep no matter how much you try, it might be time to seek medical help. Certain things like anxiety and sleeping disorders can be treated by medical professionals. That being said, none of these tips will hurt anyone and might help improve the quality of rest you get each night.

Listen to your body
A lot of the time it is as simple as tuning into what our body is telling us. We all have nights where we feel fatigued, but we push past it because we want to watch one more episode or want to browse social media a little bit longer. When you drive past your natural sleep cycle, it forces your body to give you a boost of energy to stay awake causing the tossing and turning you see shortly after.

The human body is truly a remarkable thing. It follows a certain rhythm to keep you at your best at all times. I suggest taking a week and marking down when you naturally fall asleep and when you naturally wake up. This will let you know how much sleep you need (because everyone is different) and then you can adjust accordingly to fit your schedule.

Try to avoid sleeping in
The weekend rolls around, and we are grateful for no alarms and those extra hours of zzzzs. When we do this, it creates and an imbalance in our natural sleep cycle and can cause a slight jet lag when Monday rolls around. If you follow your bodies rhythm you shouldn’t need to sleep in during the weekends and, even though it feels nice, overall sleeping in won’t help out in the long run.

Instead, try taking a 15-20 minute nap in the early afternoon if you can on those exhausted days. Don’t nap longer than 20 minutes or else that can alter your sleep schedule as well. Sleep is really a balancing game between finding that perfect amount that keeps you energized without any fatigue.

Turn off before bed
Our sleep pattern can alter the slightest thing such as lights and noises throughout the day. Try to keep your ‘light’ exposure during the daytime hours and turn off all electronics 1-2 hours before your bedtime. Not only will this help your brain relax before bed but it also enables you to fall asleep faster. When we regularly check our phones or watch TV before bed, we are never genuinely turning our minds off. Once we stare at our phones thoughts and to do lists start running through our head making it difficult to shut off.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Find a relaxing routine
Nighttime routines are something I swear by. On nights that I forget to follow my routine, I can feel a difference when I wake up. I’ll start my day off groggy and hit the snooze button more than I’d want to. For me, I have found drinking a cup of tea, and either reading, journaling, or meditating before bed puts me in a more relaxed mindset. Obviously, routines are impossible to do every night, but the more you stick to a set of habits the more likely your mind will form with them.

For example, when I drink a cup of tea, now my body automatically starts getting drowsy (again, our bodies are kind of amazing). If you are not a tea drinker, you can also try warm milk or hot chocolate as well. When your body starts falling asleep your temperature actually drops so drinking a warm drink (or taking a warm bath) will give you that rise and drop that happens with sleep.

Exercise and diet right
It is just a simple fact, when you treat your body right, it returns the favor. It is a known fact that exercising regularly helps you maintain a healthier sleep cycle. You don’t have to go out and vigorously workout for this to work; even a 10-minute walk can help. When it comes to diet make sure to avoid eating large meals or drinking a lot of liquids before bed. This gives your stomach time to properly digest, so you don’t get the digestive issues we sometimes get.

It seems like a no-brainer, but we forget to watch our caffeine and sugar levels during the day. These are sometimes the biggest culprits in restless nights. If you do need a little snack before bed, go for things like bananas, milk, yogurt, or a turkey sandwich.  Things might not change overnight, but if you keep at each routine, you should see a change in your sleep cycle. If not, it might be time to see a professional for an in-depth look at to what might be the cause.


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