According to studies, nearly half of Americans say that they do not get enough sleep every night. Although many say they can function with four to six hours of sleep, most doctors agree that a person should aim for getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
But for those who lie awake at night, this is easier said than done.
From driving safely to staying awake at work – or even just for your general well-being – it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. Follow these tips for better sleep and you may notice a world of difference.
Of course, people having consistent difficulty in falling or staying asleep at night should consult a doctor.
Tips for better sleep
Only use your bed for sleeping.
- In other words, don’t work or use your iPhone or computer under the covers. It becomes more difficult to relax and fall asleep if you associate your bed with activities that prevent you from winding down.
Watch what you ingest leading up to bedtime.
- This is one of those better sleep tips that your Grandma might have told you. Try to avoid drinking caffeine after 5 p.m., assuming your bedtime is between 10 p.m. and midnight. If you plan on having a heavy meal, try to eat it earlier, rather than later. And do not snack too close to the time you plan on going to bed. Also, there is an illusion that alcohol helps you fall asleep – it doesn’t. It can either prevent you from sleeping or dehydrate you, so that you stay awake in the middle of the night feeling thirsty. In fact, try not to drink liquids of any sort close to bedtime, so that you can avoid multiple trips to the bathroom.
Be sure that your bedroom is comfortable.
- Keep the temperature cool and try to ensure that there is not too much noise. If you have trouble sleeping, cover your clock before you go to bed because sleep problems are often partially psychological. Lastly, make sure your bed is comfortable. Some people prefer firm mattresses, while others like softer ones. The same goes for pillows.
Turn down the lights.
- You should attempt to spend the final portion of your evening before bedtime with lower lighting. So, turn off the television or computer and put down your iPhone, which suppresses melatonin production. If the lights in your home are bright, consider changing them to lower wattage bulbs. And, assuming it’s safe to do so, use a flashlight when going to the bathroom in the middle of the night as opposed to turning on a light, which can wake you up.
During the day, expose yourself to light as much as possible.
- During breaks from work, step outside and, whenever possible, spend time outdoors. And most studies agree that getting exercise during the day often leads to a better night’s sleep. Additionally, keep your shades open in your home to let in light while you are at home.
Do something relaxing before going to bed.
- Reading is an enjoyable way of making yourself tired at night. Another option would be to take a hot bath, using a candle to light your bathroom. To be able to fall asleep, the body needs to cool down. An average person’s temperature drops during the evening, so taking a hot bath will cause your temperature to rise slightly, but then drop more steeply when you get out of the tub.
Stick to a schedule.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night and, equally important, awake at the same time in the morning. Even if it takes you longer to fall asleep, you should get up at your regular time because it will help you stick to a schedule. For some, napping can help with catching up on sleep, while for others it can have an adverse effect.
Don’t worry too much.
- Losing some sleep isn’t the end of the world. Often, the more you concern yourself with how much sleep you’re getting or not getting, the more difficult it becomes to fall asleep. If you have longer-term sleeping problems, consult your doctor, who might give you additional tips for a good night’s sleep or prescribe medication, if necessary.
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Do you have any tips for better sleep? Share them in the comments!