Sleeping well directly effects your health, energy and your quality of life. Not getting enough quality sleep can negatively effect your energy levels, productivity, emotions and even your weight. A good many of us unfortunately do not get a good nights rest, struggling to get the deep, quality sleep we so desperately need. Like many others out there, I've had ...
Like many others out there I've had my fair share of nights where I've had difficulty falling asleep. Most times when I have difficulty falling asleep my mind is racing a mile a minute with thoughts and events about the day and my worries and fears in life.
Most times I think negatively which only feeds my worries and insecurities and raises my stress level which makes it even harder to fall asleep. So instinctively, I do what most people do, get out of bed and either grab something to eat, go online, work on the computer or even indulge in a hot toddy to help me to fall back asleep.
Little did I know it at the time but these are absolutely some of the worst things that you can do to go back to sleep. So one day, after a sleepless night, I went online and researched how to get back to sleep when you have difficulty falling asleep.
My research uncovered that there are 7 proven ways to sleep better tonight. If you’re able to make simple but important changes in your lifestyle, your daytime routine and your bedtime habits, you too can attain better sleep. The result will be a feeling of alertness and mental sharpness, increased energy levels and emotional balance in your life.
The solution and cure is in your daily habits and routine. Attaining better sleep every night is within all of our control, more than we realize. By simply following consistently a variety of healthy practices and sleep habits, you can maximize the hours of sleep you need.
By experimenting and incorporating some or all of the following 7 proven ways to sleep better tonight, you too can enjoy a better nights sleep, increased energy levels, improved overall health and improve upon how you think and feel during the day.
So what are these 7 ways to sleep better tonight?
1. Do Regular Vigorous Exercise
When you do regular vigorous exercise you will sleep better, have more energy and feel less sleepy during the day. Studies have shown that regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea. Furthermore, it increases the amount of time spent in deep, restorative stages of sleep.
The more vigorous the exercise, the greater and more powerful the sleep benefits you will experience. But even moderate and light exercise will help to improve the quality of your sleep.
This may not happen immediately. It can take several weeks to even months of regular physical activity before the full sleep benefits can be experienced. The trick is to build a regular exercise habit into your daily routine and stick to it no matter what.
The best times to exercise is early to mid-day because it speeds up your metabolism. Never exercise vigorously later in the day and before bed time as it can interfere with sleep. Relaxing, low-impact exercise like gentle stretching and yoga in the evening can help promote better sleep.
What you eat and your eating habits have a significant effect on how well you sleep, especially leading up to bedtime.
Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are stimulants which can have negative effects and disruptive influences on your sleep. So it would be wise to eliminate consuming coffee, alcohol and smoking from mid-day onwards, leading up to bed time.
Similarly, avoid eating big meals and rich, spicy or acidic foods 2 - 3 hours before bed time. Consume smaller, lighter portions, avoid drinking too many liquids and eat dinner earlier in the evening to make it easier to sleep at night.
Reduce your overall intake of sugary foods and refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and pasta as they can have a disruptive effect on your deep, restorative stages of sleep.
Natural light keeps your body’s internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. The brain and body sleeps better when it’s dark outside at night and are more alert with sunlight during the day. Let in the light first thing in the morning and get a minimum of 30 minutes if not more of sun exposure each day.
So adhere to a proper sleep-wake cycle that is consistent with daylight and night time hours. Schedule your day time activities to max out on your exposure to natural sunlight.
Don’t forget to also control your exposure to light 1 - 2 hours before bedtime. Avoid bright screens from computers, tablets, I-pads, e-readers and smart phones. Turn off the TV and engage in less stimulating, more relaxing activities like reading, journaling and listening to music or audio books instead.
Ensure you have an appropriate, conducive environment that will help promote a good night sleep. Use heavy curtains or shades and blinds to block out disruptive light from windows to ensure your bedroom is dark. Use a dim nightlight if need be, for safety, for when you wake up in the middle of the night. Or use a small flashlight. This will make it easier for you to fall back asleep.
Keeping a regular, natural, everyday sleep-wake schedule will improve your quality of sleep. Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle will leave you energized and refreshed.
Ensure you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This helps to set your body’s internal “sleep clock” and you will attain a high quality of sleep. Waking up without an alarm clock indicates you’re getting enough of sleep.
Keep the same sleep schedule as much as possible, everyday of the week. Avoid sleeping in on weekends and holidays. Don’t disturb your regular, natural sleep-wake rhythm schedule. Different sleep schedules can interfere with and have a disruptive effect on the quality of your sleep.
If need be, an afternoon nap is a great way to make up for not getting enough sleep. Or if you get tired during the day and more sleep is needed. Keep naps short at a maximum of 20 minutes in the early afternoon.
Don’t succumb and give in to sleep after eating dinner. It’s way too easy to fall asleep on the couch watching TV or going to bed. After dinner sleep can disrupt your regular night time sleep schedule. Fight after-dinner drowsiness as much as possible. Instead, push yourself to be more active by going for a walk, engaging in a hobby, catching up on house work or calling and speaking to a friend.
The last two hours before bedtime can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Use these hours to slowly unwind and relax. A peaceful bedtime routine will allow you to let go of the day’s stresses and put you in the proper frame of mind which will help you to optimize your sleep.
Avoid participating in highly stimulating activities and your exposure to bright screens. Shut of the TV, computer, tablets, Ipads and smart phones. Engage in more quiet, peaceful, relaxing activities like reading, daily journaling, gratitude journaling, listening to quiet, peaceful, relaxing music etc.
Turn your bedroom into a sleep inducing environment. A peaceful, quiet, room mostly on the cooler side is essential for better sleep. Eliminate noise and ensure your bedroom is neither too hot nor cold. Keep it at an optimal room temperature between 65 F and 70 F or 18 C and 21C, with adequate ventilation.
Use bedding like mattresses, foam toppers, sheets, pillows, blankets and comforters. They allow your body to breathe and also provide the appropriate level of firmness, support and comfort that you require.
To help overcome noise and light disturbances consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise" machines, humidifiers, fans and other appropriate devices.
Eliminate any stress, worry and anger built up from your day for better sleep. These negative elements dominating your thoughts at night must be cleansed from your mind. Learning how to handle stress and worry productively, while maintaining a calm, positive mind will help you to sleep better at night.
Avoid multi-tasking during the day. An over stimulated brain and mind during the day makes it harder to slow down and unwind at night. Focus on one task at a time. When it comes time to sleep at night your brain will need to work less and it will be easier and faster to calm your mind and unwind.
Overcome worrying and turn off your mind by writing down your worries and the steps you’ll take to resolve your problems. Create an action plan. Once your concerns are converted into an action plan, you’ll rest easier.
Incorporate relaxing techniques into your bedtime routine. They will help you to de-stress, unwind, relax, calm your mind and help you to sleep better. Taking a bath, meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and visualization techniques all contribute to acquiring deeper, sounder sleep.
Proven bedtime rituals will also help you to unwind and sleep better. Focus on, quiet non-stimulating activities. Incorporate one or more of the following in your routine. Reading, daily journaling, gratitude journaling, listening to soft music, meditating, engaging in a hobby, taking a warm, soothing bath, getting a massage, listening to books on tapes and dimming the lights leading to your bed time.
Sometimes it’s difficult to fall back asleep when you wake up at night. The worst thing that you can do is to continuously think, stress out and worry over your inability to fall asleep again. An active stimulated mind and stress will only keep you awake longer, making it more difficult to fall asleep again.
At times like these you need to eliminate stress and worry. Simply relax, calm down and once again acquire a peaceful mind. Focus on relaxing your mind and body instead of falling asleep. The best way to achieve this is through meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and visualization techniques.
If need be, in addition to this do a quiet, non-stimulating activity like reading and listening to soft, soothing music. Dim the lights and stay away from electronic screens to unwind once again so you have an appropriate, conducive, sleep structured environment that will help you to fall asleep again.
If you incorporate these 7 proven ways to sleep better tonight into your life, within a few weeks you will see remarkable improvements in the quality of your sleep, your overall health, energy levels, productivity, relationships and your overall well being.
Do you implement these 7 tips to sleep better?
Do you have any other tips or suggestions that work for you to sleep better at night?
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Mark Blaise is an idealistic, socially conscious content creator on a mission to raise people’s awareness while promoting social justice for all. He enjoys writing inspiring and thought provoking posts on social issues, The Golden Rule, personal growth and other amazingly helpful "stuff". His goal is to inspire you to grow and to be a better person by spreading more kindness, showing more compassion, doing unto others, giving back, contributing and helping make the world a better place, while living a truly happy, more fulfilling and inspired life.