Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you toss and turn, wake up too early, or find yourself feeling cranky in the morning? You are not alone — millions of people struggle with sleep deficiencies.
Daily stress and unexpected challenges can make quality sleep difficult to come by. While you may not be able to control or eliminate all of the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can create an environment and adopt habits that encourage a more restful night.
If you have trouble waking up in the morning or struggle with fatigue and sleepiness throughout the day, you may need to make changes to your sleep environment.
Create a room that is ideal for sleeping — quiet, cool, dark, and free of interruptions. Adjust lighting, temperature, humidity, and noise level to your preferences. Consider using items such as blackout curtains, eye covers, ear plugs, white noise, and fans to create an environment that suits your needs.
While features of a good bed differ for each person, make sure it is comfortable and supportive. Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, toppers, and pillows that provide additional support.
Make sure you have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. If you share your bed with a partner, make sure there’s enough room for two. Since pets and children can disrupt sleep, limit how often they sleep with you.
Examine the age of your mattress to determine if it is still providing the comfort and support you need. It may have exceeded its life expectancy (7 –10 years).
Establish a regular bedtime routine to sleep easier and more deeply. Take time to separate yourself from activities that can cause excitement, stress, or anxiety that can make it more difficult to fall asleep and remain in a deep sleep.
Prepare your body for rest — make the time before sleep a time of peace and quiet and find a routine that relaxes you to help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleepiness. Be sure to avoid activities such as working, paying bills, and problem-solving during this down time. Take a warm bath or shower, read a book, listen to calming music, or practice relaxation techniques to calm the mind.
Go to bed when you are tired and turn out the lights. If you do not fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something else. Return to bed when you are tired. Do not lie in bed worrying about sleep, as this will only cause additional stress.
Sticking to a consistent bedtime schedule helps reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle and can help you achieve better quality rest. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late or sleep in.
Taking care of your body can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. You will sleep more deeply if you watch what you eat before bed and exercise regularly.
Do not eat/drink large amounts before bedtime. Avoid eating your last daily meal within two to three hours of bedtime and stay away from heavy, spicy, or fatty foods, which can cause discomfort during the night. Also, limit fluid intake before bed to prevent nightly trips to the bathroom.
Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and contributes to sounder sleep, but be sure to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in late afternoon and evening as these are stimulants that can keep you awake.
Many people think of alcohol as a sedative since it can make you fall asleep faster; however, consuming alcohol actually leads to a night of less restful sleep.
Caffeine is a stimulant and can produce an alerting effect. Caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate, remain in the body on average from 5 to 7 hours. Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake to improve sleep quality.
Nicotine is another stimulant that can disrupt sleep. When smokers go to sleep, they experience withdrawal symptoms, which can cause difficulty falling asleep, problems waking in the morning, and nightmares.
Worries from your workday can make it difficult to achieve quality sleep. If you find yourself continuously awakening during the night or feeling groggy in the morning, try one of these suggestions.
Whether you’re visiting an exotic locale or traveling for business, it’s not always easy sleeping in a bed that’s not your own. Here are a few suggestions for making your next hotel stay more pleasurable … and restful.