We all love sleep but many of us don’t get enough of it. Whether it’s due to work demands or the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep, a lot of people have difficulty getting the adequate rest they need. So, what changes can you make to help catch those much-needed zzz’s? Let’s see!
Whether it’s a television screen, cell phone, or tablet, anything that emits a blue glow can actually disrupt your sleep. This includes any digital clocks or other digital displays in the bedroom. It’s suggested that you turn off all devices approximately one hour before you go to sleep. The blue light emitted by these devices is said to interrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle, also known as circadian rhythms. When your internal sleep cycle is off, the body doesn’t know whether to sleep or stay awake. Avoiding screen time prior to bed could result in falling asleep faster and feeling more rested in the morning.
If you have a digital clock in your bedroom, it’s important you cover this with a dark fabric, turn it around so it’s not visible to you or remove it from the room. This is not only because of the light it gives off but staring at the clock throughout the night can actually keep you awake. Watching the clock makes your mind start to race. You may start running through lists in your mind of what you’re doing the next day at work or what you need from the grocery store. Sometimes simply staring at the clock can make it nearly impossible to fall back asleep.
Get Proper Support
You may not realize it but if your back and neck are not properly supported during the night, it can disrupt your sleep. You may not even notice any discomfort in the morning, but that doesn’t mean that your posture is not being compromised at night. An easy way to address this is to sleep with a pillow between your knees. This offers just enough support to properly align your hips and take any unnecessary and unpleasant stress off your lower back.
Your back isn’t the only thing that can become strained during sleep. If you’ve ever woken up with a stiff neck or shoulders, it’s likely because your pillow is not offering you the support you need. You want a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. It shouldn’t be too hard or too soft. It should also be the right balance between flat and fluffy. If you sleep on your side, a good test is to align your nose with your midline. Be careful if you’re a stomach sleeper. This position can greatly compromise and strain your neck muscles.
Be Mindful of What You Eat and Drink
There are certain foods that are known to keep you awake at night – caffeine being the most well-known. Caffeine is found in many beverages from coffee and teas to sodas and other sweet drinks. But caffeine isn’t the only beverage that you need to avoid before bed. Alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep as well. You may think a glass of wine or cocktail before bed will relax you but in fact, the opposite is true. At first, alcohol has a stimulating effect followed by a sedative one, which is why people believe it helps them sleep. But new research suggests that the stimulating effect of alcohol can actually return for as long as 24 hours following consumption. That means that alcohol can disrupt your sleep hours after you’re done drinking it.
Certain foods can lead to sleepless nights, as well. Try to avoid heavy meals before bed. When your digestive system is sent into overdrive, it can keep you awake at night and lead to disrupted sleep. Not to mention, heavy meals before bed can lead to weight gain and may leave you feeling bloated and irritable with gas pains. Try a light snack high in protein before bed instead.
White noise is often associated with sleep music, noise machines, fans, and other soft, almost inaudible sounds that can help you fall asleep. It’s not really the white noise itself that helps you fall asleep but instead its ability to mask other outside disturbances. Whether you sleep with your windows open or not, neighborhoods and cities can be noisy places. Sirens, dogs barking, kids crying, and sounds of nature can be distracting to some people and make falling asleep extremely difficult. By eliciting the help of a sound machine, music or fan, you can drown out these noises and focus on a more calming, steady tone.
Keep Your Bed Space Sacred
Your bed should be for sleeping and for humans only. It’s important to keep your bed a designated space. If you start to bring food or work into the bedroom, your body won’t associate it with sleep any longer. Your mind will be confused about what your body is supposed to do in the bedroom if you’re constantly bringing outside stimulation in. Reserve your sleep space for sleep. It’s also important to keep any other loved ones out, aside from your partner or spouse. Letting your children sleep in your bed means a disrupted night sleep for everyone. And four legged friends are not excluded. Allowing your dog or cat to share your bed means your body will likely be in uncomfortable positions throughout the night. Not to mention you may get a paw to the face every now and then. Treat your bed as a sleeping oasis not a playground, dining room or office.
You Need Sleep to Function
If you’re not receiving adequate rest, neither your mind nor your body can function properly during awake hours. Stop chalking up your exhaustion to just one night of disrupted sleep. You’re likely suffering from poor sleep habits that need addressing. Take a minute to evaluate your current sleep routine and make necessary changes. Your morning self will thank you.
Article Submitted By Community Writer