We’ve all been there. You wake up in the middle of the night and you check the time once, twice, three times, and before you know it, it’s almost time for you to get up and get ready for work. Having trouble sleeping can affect you all throughout the day; it can cause irritability, grogginess, hunger, and brain fog. Whether you’re a student, a parent, or just have a busy schedule, it’s imperative that you get a good night’s sleep. Here are four things you can do today, to sleep better tonight.
1.Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Let’s face it; if you already have a busy schedule, exercise is probably one of the last things on your to-do list for the day. However, getting your heart rate up can actually help you relax when it’s time for bed. Whether you exercise at the beginning or the end of your day, being active is a great way to relieve stress and expend all that pent-up energy from being in the office 5 days a week. Exercise also triggers a drop in body temperature that can aid in falling asleep. And if you exercise outdoors, the exposure to natural sunlight can help regulate your body’s sleep wake cycle. All of these benefits sound great, right? But the real question is how to actually incorporate exercise into your daily routine to actually see these benefits. If you’re a busy mom, try taking your kids to the park and running a few laps around playground. If you’re a student, try waking up 30 minutes earlier and doing a few aerobic exercises in your bedroom or in your backyard. And if you’re stuck in the office from 9-5, try following an evening online workout class or video that you can do right from your living room.
2.Go to Bed and Wake Up at The Same Time Every Day
One night you go out for drinks and don’t get back home until midnight. The next night you have a long day at work and knock out at 9 p.m. And the next night you find a happy medium and find yourself in bed by 10:30. Did you know that this actually really affects your quality of sleep? When you go to bed at the same time every night, you’re allowing your body to adjust to a set bedtime routine. The longer you have a set routine, the easier your body will start to anticipate when to start winding down and eventually fall asleep. So, if you can, try and establish a daily nighttime routine. This will also condition your mind to connect your nighttime activities with relaxing and getting ready to sleep. The next step is also waking up at the same time every morning. Even though sleeping in on the weekends may seem like the most logical thing to do (more sleep in the morning should equal more energy during the day, right?), it actually further disrupts your body’s effort to establish a sleep schedule. Our bodies rely on our circadian rhythm and consistency to determine when we naturally wake up every morning. Something that can aid in waking up at the same time every day is waking up with natural light. If your bedroom has a window, try opening the curtains right before you go to sleep, so that your body can rely on the sunlight as a cue to wake up naturally. This can also help decrease grogginess in the morning as a result of your alarm going off in the middle of a sleep cycle, which will make you feel more refreshed and alert throughout the day. With that being said, try to refrain taking a nap during the day, especially after 3 p.m. This will ensure that your body remains active throughout the day and will be ready for bed by the time you start your bedtime routine.
3.Use Your Bed for Sleeping and Sleeping Only
This one comes with a few obvious exceptions (especially if you have a partner) but for the most part, your bed should only be used for sleeping. Most Americans today have a TV in their bedroom that they watch when winding down, and although having nighttime activities to relax is important, watching TV in bed should not be one of them. Your bedroom should be a relaxing, quiet environment that your body exclusively associates with sleep. The minute you start eating in bed, checking emails in bed, or basically doing anything that’s not designed to help you sleep, you’re telling your body that being in bed doesn’t mean you have to go to sleep. And if there’s anything you’ve learned from this article, it’s that routine is an extremely important aspect of training your body to sleep better throughout the night.
4.Pay Attention to Your Eating Habits
Have you ever eaten a big dinner right before bed, and then had trouble sleeping when it was time to go to sleep? That’s because eating a lot right before bed can affect the quality of your sleep. If you’re too full, the discomfort of being stuffed can cause you to have trouble sleeping. At the same time, going to bed hungry can distract you from falling asleep. A happy medium would be having your last meal around 3-4 hours before bedtime and then if you get hungry, eat a small snack before you start your bedtime routine. Try not to consume anything with caffeine or high amounts of sugar, because that can spike your blood sugar levels and make it harder for your body to relax. You can also try drinking tea (but make sure it’s not caffeinated!) before bed to help you relax.