Many factors can affect your sleep. Fortunately, many of these are controllable, so you can take steps to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep. From habits and routines to ensuring you’re equipped with one of the best mattresses out there, there’s a lot you can do to get deep, restful sleep each and every night.
1) Lack of a Bedtime Routine
A lack of a bedtime routine is a common reason for poor sleep. Just because mom and dad aren’t there anymore to ensure you’re getting your recommended hours of sleep — anywhere from seven to nine hours, by the way — it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a bedtime routine. An adult bedtime routine might involve winding down for 30 minutes to an hour before sleep, including activities such as reading, writing in a journal, taking a bath or shower and stretching or doing relaxation exercises. It’s important to avoid screens during this time, as the blue light can disrupt your body’s natural sleep rhythms.
Depending on your schedule, you might aim to go to bed between 11 and 11:30 p.m. However, it’s also important to listen to your body and go to bed when you’re actually feeling sleepy. Ultimately, following a regular bedtime routine is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep.
2) A Bedroom That Isn’t Sleep-Friendly
Your bedroom should be a haven — a place where you can relax and feel comfortable. But if your room is cluttered, bright or noisy, it can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool — the ideal environment for sleep. Invest in high-quality bedding pillows to ensure a comfortable night’s rest. And don’t forget about the importance of a good mattress. With various options now available — from ultra comfy memory foam mattresses to luxurious pillow tops — there’s no excuse not to have a comfortable place to sleep.
3) Forgetting to Relax and De-stress
Stress is a common cause of insomnia. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you’re regularly having trouble sleeping, take some time to assess your stress levels and find ways to reduce stress.
There are lots of relaxation techniques you can use, such as progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, yoga or meditation. Once you discover what works for you, you can make it a regular part of your sleep routine. Additionally, try to avoid doing work or using electronic devices in bed — this will help create a clear association between bed and sleep.
4) Eating or Drinking Too Much Before Bed
Eating a large meal right before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep and can lead to disruptive nighttime trips to the bathroom. If you’re hungry before bed, opt for a light snack that won’t weigh you down. Focusing on protein is always a good idea because it helps you to feel full. And matching that with complex carbohydrates ensures that the digestion process isn’t too swift, so you won’t be waking up hungry. Some good pre-bed snacks include hard-boiled eggs, nuts, veggies and low-sugar fruits like berries.
It’s also important to avoid drinking too much before bed, as this can lead to nighttime trips to the bathroom. If you’re thirsty, go ahead and have a glass of water or non-caffeinated herbal tea. But, ideally, it’s best to stay hydrated throughout the day so you’re not gulping back liquids right before bed.
5) Exercising Too Close to Bedtime
Exercise is great for overall health, but it’s important not to do it too close to bedtime. Exercise can energize you and make it harder to fall asleep. If possible, aim to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.
If you can’t avoid exercising at night, try doing a relaxing activity such as yoga or stretching instead of a high-intensity workout. And be sure to shower before bed — this will help you feel clean and refreshed and will also lower your body temperature, which is ideal for sleeping.
6) Not Getting Enough Exercise
On the flip side, you might need more activity in your life. Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, but it’s also important for a good night’s sleep. Exercise helps improve sleep quality by reducing stress and anxiety and promoting a healthy sleep cycle. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. And, if possible, try to do it earlier in the day, so you’re not revving up your body right before bedtime.
7) There’s Too Much Caffeine and Alcohol in Your Life
We all know that caffeine is a stimulant. So it’s no surprise that too much coffee, tea or soda can make it hard to fall asleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try to avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime. The same goes for alcohol. Although it may make you feel drowsy at first, drinking alcoholic beverages can disrupt your sleep later in the night. Plus, it can lead to dehydration, which can make it even harder to sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.
8) Underlying Health Conditions
There are many underlying health conditions that can cause insomnia, such as anxiety disorders, depression, chronic pain, heartburn, hyperthyroidism and menopause. If you’re regularly having trouble sleeping, it’s important to talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues. Once you know what’s causing your insomnia, you and your doctor can work on finding a treatment plan that will help you get the restful sleep you need.
9) Taking Medications that Affect Sleep
There are many medications that can cause insomnia or make it worse. If you’re taking any medications, talk to your doctor about the possibility of side effects affecting your sleep. In some cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication that doesn’t have the same effect on sleep.
Final Sleep Thoughts
If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t despair. There are many things you can do to improve your sleep habits and get the restful sleep you need. Start by evaluating your sleep habits and making changes where necessary. And if you still can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor about underlying health conditions or medications that might be affecting your sleep. With a little effort, you can finally get the zzz’s you need. Sweet dreams!