Even when we do get to bed, many of us suffer from all sorts of sleep disorders. We either find it difficult to fall asleep or the quality of our sleep is low. Either way, we suffer for it.
- Reduced concentration.
- Bad decision making.
- Lack of focus.
- Increases aggressiveness.
- Vision disturbance
- Heightened sensitivity to pain .
So, lack of sleep doesn’t have just cosmetic consequences. It can cause grave problems.
This is why I urge you to read the following 12 tips. They may help you improve the quality of your sleep, leading to greater energy, a reduced appetite, faster weight loss, and better quality of life.
12 Ways To Sleep Better
1. Sleep and Rise At Regular Times
You need to train your body to sleep. If you go to sleep at the same time each day and wake up at the same time each morning, your body will grow accustomed to this schedule and it will “know” when the right time to fall asleep comes. You will fall asleep faster and find it easier to get up in the morning.
2. Making Up For Lost Sleep Doesn’t Work
If you find yourself crashing during the weekend, you need more sleep during the week itself. Don’t believe that you can make up for lost hours by oversleeping during the weekends. You need to get a good number of hours of sleep each night. How many? Unless you’re one of the blessed few that can really get by on little sleep, you need to sleep 7 hours at a minimum each night.
3. Read Fiction, But Not Any Fiction
To be able to fall asleep quickly you need to detach your mind from the problems of the day. You can’t have them nag you over and over again in your mind.
I “escape from reality” by reading books. It has to be fiction novels (I can also read history books). You can’t read the paper or a professional book because these will not allow you to let go of your daily thoughts. Reading a book for 30 minutes in bed will make you relaxed and you will drift very quickly to sleep once you turn off the light.
Note: there are some books which literally can’t be put down. These can keep you up for hours, reading into the night. Reading such books is one of the most pleasurable experiences in the world, but if you need your sleep, you’d better read them only during the day.
4. Reduce Stress
I’ve written before on how to reduce stress and why too much stress in your life can lead to weight gain. Having too much stress can also make it difficult to fall asleep. To avoid this you should do some stress alleviating activities during each day. These may include yoga, stretching exercises, mediation, or a variety of breathing exercises. Reading is also a good way to reduce stress and so is exercising.
5. Exercise Regularly
Exercising daily can help you get to sleep on time and to fall asleep quickly. Exercising has been shown to improve your mood, reduce stress, and it tires you out, which is why your body will crave more sleep and fall into it quickly. However, if you exercise in the late hours just before your bed time, you may find it hard to fall asleep as your body will still be warm from your workout.
6. Eliminate Light and Noise
One of the keys to better sleep is to reduce light and noise. Both of these can tamper with your sleep, making it harder to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
Check that your blinds and curtains are drawn and that your cellphone is turned off or silenced. Don’t fall asleep with your TV still running. Consider using a sleeping mask and wearing ear plugs.
7. Don’t Watch TV Before Bed
While you may find this second nature, it may also be the reason why you’re sleep deprived. Watching TV can cause you to lose track of time and end up falling asleep too late. There is so much to watch on TV and it requires so little effort (much less than reading), that you may lose 1 – 2 hours of sleep without even noticing it.
8. Go To Bed Early
Even if you don’t feel tired and what you want to do is read a book for an hour I recommend going to bed early. Once you’re in bed, your body starts preparing for sleep. It’s a natural process. If you can’t get enough sleep, simply go to bed. You will find that, contrary to your expectations, you fall asleep earlier than you would have thought.
9. Never Go To Bed Angry
Fighting with your spouse is one thing. It can happen. Going to bed without resolving your quarrel and while still feeling angry is another. Going to bed mad is a sure way to experience insomnia. Your body needs to be as relaxed as possible to sleep. You need to give it what it needs.
10. Cut Dow on Caffeine
The reason why coffee became popular in the first place is the fact that it delays tiredness. If you have too much caffeine in your system you will find it hard to fall asleep. So, reduce consumption of caffeinated beverages like coffee, certain types of tea, and energy drinks.
11. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
You have to be comfortable in your own bed. This includes having a good pillow, a high quality mattress, making sure you’re not too cold or too hot, etc. Once you’re comfortable in your bed, you will sleep longer and deeper.
12. Relieve Yourself Before Bedtime
Getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom can reduce the quality of your sleep. If you visit the bathroom just before going to sleep, you will have a better chance of sleeping through the night undisturbed. It should be noted that if you’re cold during the night you may also wake up with the need to urinate, which is why you have to make sure that you have a good blanket.
One Final Tip
Don’t be too quick to use sleep medication. These can have undesirable side-effects. Try the steps I’ve outlined above and you will find it easier to get a good natural sleep.
If you do opt for medication, consult with your doctor first. Make sure to know the possible side effects.
I hope these tips for will help you sleep better. If you know of any more tips, write a comment below.
1. Consequences of sleep deprivation. Orzeł-Gryglewska J. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2010;23(1):95-114.
2. Do Sleep Disorders Contribute to Pain Sensitivity? Okifuji A, Hare BD. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2011 Jul 30. [Epub ahead of print]