10 ways to improve sleep
Sleep plays a key role in mental and physical health. But so many people are consistently unable to shut off their minds once in bed or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t return to sleep. As a result, it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance and even your weight.
1. Set a consistent sleep and wake-up time
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. As nice as it may be to have a long sleep-in on the weekend, try to limit sleeping to no more than an hour past your usual wake-up time. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep.
2. Keep the bed for sleep only
Keep work, texting and watching TV out of the bed. This will train your brain and body to know that it’s a space for sleeping.
3. Relax and clear your mind in the evening
Relaxation techniques before bed, including hot baths and meditation, may help you fall asleep.
4. Exercise regularly but not before bed
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. It can enhance all aspects of sleep and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia.
5. Turn off the mind chatter
It takes time to turn off the "noise" of the day. If you’ve still got a lot on your mind, jot it down and let go for the night. Out of mind will help eliminate the chronic worry that so often keeps people up at night.
6. Be careful with naps
To sleep better at night, it is important to use caution with naps. If you nap for too long or too late in the day, it can throw off your sleep schedule and make it harder to get to sleep when you want to.
7. Start a gratitude list each day
Practicing gratitude can have many positive effects on our lives including lowering blood pressure, reducing risks of depression and anxiety, and setting the right conditions for better sleep. Consider keeping a gratitude journal, writing down a few things you are thankful for a few times per week.
8. Change the way you think about sleep
Poor sleepers frequently attribute just about every problem they have to the sleep issues. Change the negative thinking that might be associated with sleep. Know that some problems can be attributed to sleep while others have nothing to do with it.
9. Be smart about what you eat and drink
Your eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime. In addition, try to limit caffeine and avoid alcohol before bed, as they may interfere with your sleep cycle. While some feel that alcohol may help you fall asleep, it actually interferes with sleep cycles, so the sleep will not be as restorative. Alcohol can lead to problems such as frequent waking or aggravated breathing problems.
10. Get comfy
A supportive mattress, comfortable pillow, sheets and blankets that suit the season as well as loose pyjamas may help you sleep better and longer.