Want to leave the sleeping pills in the cabinet and get a good night's sleep? These tips can help you achieve refreshing nights and bright-eyed mornings. For instance, upgrading your bedroom will improve your sleep. So will sticking to a soothing bedtime routine and taking action in the daytime to promote sleep each night.
A better bedroom
For better sleep, your bedroom should be dim, quiet and cool. The hormone melatonin regulates sleep but is itself is regulated by light. For the best levels of melatonin, avoid light in the bedroom at night, especially blue light. If you must have a light on, install an orange bulb, which does not inhibit melatonin.
Replace your mattress if it is more than five years old, or at least get it a dust-proof cover. An old mattress can sag uncomfortably and can also harbor dust mites. Stuffiness, sneezing and itching from dust mite allergies make it harder to sleep through the night.
Another sometimes-beneficial sleep accessory is earplugs. If your partner snores, sleep may be impossible without them. At the same time, everyone who snores should tell a doctor, because it can be a sign of serious underlying problems.
A cooler bedroom fosters sleep, too. Try lowering the thermostat three degrees to see if it improves your sleep. A low-speed fan also helps by creating white noise that masks sleep-disturbing sounds. You may dream you are sleeping beside a tropical waterfall.
A sleep-time routine
Sticking with a sleep routine trains your body to get sleepy. Get up at the same time every day, and go to bed at the same time every night. If you consistently sleep late on weekends, you are not allowing enough time for sleep during the week.
On the other hand, do not just lie awake, advises experts at the Mayo Clinic. If you cannot sleep, get up and do something quietly. Read a book or work on a craft. Don't watch TV or sit at the computer, though, because the light lowers melatonin levels.
Schedule meals so you are neither hungry nor stuffed at bedtime. Eating within an hour or so of lying down can lead to insomnia-inducing heartburn.
Never drink a nightcap. It may make you feel sleepy, but you will not get restful sleep. Similarly, avoid caffeine and nicotine.
Bedtime rituals like always reading or listening to music will help you unwind. You might begin your ritual by turning off your smartphone. A warm bath or shower is also a fine way to unwind, and some doctors believe it encourages your body to relax and shift into sleep mode.
Daytime activities for better nights
Exercise promotes sleep, especially if you do it at the right time. Do aerobic exercise at least four times a week, preferably in the late afternoon or early evening. Avoid exercise within two hours of bedtime. Exercise may also help you lose weight, which can help promote better sleep.
Avoid napping, or restrict naps to 10 to 30 minutes in the early afternoon. More sleep in the daytime equals less sleep at night.
Use yoga, meditation or long, quiet walks to reduce stress. Try to schedule stressful activities before noon and peaceful, pleasant activities for the evenings.
Organizing your bedroom, establishing a sleep routine and staying active in the daytime will all improve your sleep. Following each aspect of this plan will soon have you yawning, and deep restful sleep will lead to a brighter morning.