This year I’m all about making small steps towards overall improvement in my life, and last night when I found myself awake in the middle of the night returning e-mails and getting some work done, I knew that it was going to be a rough morning. My mind never seems to stop, and I don’t always sleep well so it can be difficult to get up, get going… and take on the day.
So, while I was up, I thought I’d look for ways to get a more sound and peaceful sleep, while also increasing the number of hours of shut eye we get.
Here are some of the best tips I’ve found while doing some research:
Create a routine.
When our children are little, there’s a reason we have them on a nightly routine – we do it because it helps them sleep. And it helps them get to sleep on time, which helps us have a little bit of time to ourselves.
Our bodies have an internal clock, and if we stick to a routine, we improve our chances of getting in bed and falling asleep at about the same time each night.
Think about it, if we go to bed at different times each night, how can our body know when it’s supposed to shut down and restore itself? If we go to bed at nine one night, but two in the morning the next, there’s no way for it to learn that when you lie down at ten, you’re actually wanting to sleep.
Create a nightly routine that includes some of the tips below, and see what a difference it makes.
Cut out electronics at least thirty minutes before bed.
I know, I know. You just groaned and told me how impossible that is. Trust me, I understand. Remember, I’m the one that was in bed on my computer in the middle of the night, and then the next day, complained about how little sleep I got.
We are addicted to our devices, and literally don’t turn them off until our eyes shut for the night. I’ve even been known to fall asleep with my phone in my hand. And I bet a high percentage of us charge our phones right next to us, on our bed stands, and even check it when we wake up in the middle of the night.
But lets be honest with ourselves. How much of the information you’re getting from Facebook at ten o’clock, couldn’t actually wait until the next day? And Twitter? Pinterest? It will all be there the next day. Chances are, nothing that you’re taking in from your phone or computer late at night will have any impact on you the next day. If you don’t believe me, try this: pick up your phone and take two minutes to scroll through Twitter or Facebook. Once you’re done, write down what you remember, and of that, what was vitally important. My guess, there won’t be anything that couldn’t have waited.
The world doesn’t come to an end when you turn off your electronics. It’ll all be there for you to discover tomorrow.
Any kind of light signals the body to stay awake, and bright lights literally inches from our face are even worse, so turn off the electronics. And that includes the television.
Darken your room as much as possible.
This tip really goes along with the one above, but this can include blinking lights from computer modems, the clock on your cable box, or the light left on in the bathroom. Cover them, unplug them and turn them off.
Once you’re in complete dark, it will be a signal to your body to enter sleep mode.
Mess with your body temperature.
As a part of the routine you’re going to implement, take a quick, warm shower before bed, and then make sure the room is cool when you actually climb under the covers. This sudden shift in temperature signals your body to reduce your metabolism and prepare your body for some z’s.
For those of you that don’t like to take showers at night, dress warmly or lay on a heat pad for a bit, and then shed the layers and turn off the heat pad.
Studies show that we sleep better the cooler our bodies are, and the sudden shift will make a difference in how fast we get that sleep signal. Give it a try!
Wear socks to bed.
While our bodies may use the coolness of the room to aid it’s sleep cycle, cold hands and feet will actually keep us from falling asleep.
How many times have you been trying to fall asleep but your feet are freezing? All you can think about is how cold your feet are, so you put them on your spouse to warm them. Lol They hate it, but you need the body heat!
Put on some socks. Your feet will stay warm, your body will relax faster, and your spouse will appreciate that you don’t jolt them awake with your ice-cubed feet.
There you have it. Five simple steps to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep and help you sleep longer. Just one more small step to improve your life and create that new you!
Have you tried any of these? Tell me if you plan on incorporating any of these ideas to help you sleep better. Comment below. I’d love to hear from you!