We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep every night. Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t entirely sure how to go about getting the high-quality sleep that we need.
Insomnia is an incredibly common problem in our society, and many people find themselves at the mercy of their doctor’s prescription pad when they’re trying to catch a few ZZZs.
The truth is that there are a lot of things that you can do that will greatly enhance the quality of your sleep. A lot of these things are quite simple and involve making basic adjustments to your environment to make sure that your brain and body can properly prepare for the night.
Today, we’re going to outline 10 of the best tips that you can implement to help yourself get a good night’s sleep.
Get a good mattress
We’re listing this tip at the top because the mattress is the foundation for all sleeping habits, good and bad. If you don’t have a good mattress for sleep, or if you sleep on a floor, then you’re going to have some problems.
What constitutes a ‘good mattress for sleep’ for one person may not be the same as the next. There are many places that can custom fit a mattress for you based on your body size and your shape.
Unfortunately, lots of people have just been sleeping on an ‘okay’ mattress for many years. They don’t realize that the mattress is the cause of their insomnia – uncomfortable mattresses can lead to many nights of tossing and turning.
Maintain a routine
If there’s one thing that the body is good at remembering, it’s a routine.
If you make a conscious decision to perform the same tasks every night before you go to bed, then your body will begin to associate those tasks with the act of sleeping.
Not only will it be good for you to establish a routine, but the acts themselves will be so closely associated with bedtime that you’ll get sleepy just by performing them.
Put down the bottle
We’ve probably all been made aware of how easy it can be to fall asleep after a few drinks, but what’s less well-known is that the quality of sleep that somebody has after a night of drinking is terrible.
How often do you see someone wake up the morning after getting drunk feeling on top of the world? That’s not just residual alcohol being metabolized – alcohol seriously impairs REM sleep and makes it hard to get a good night’s rest.
Turn off the lights
This tip can’t be underestimated. Our body produces melatonin naturally when it detects darkness. It’s the way that we originally made ourselves tired when the sun sets.
The skin detects light from any source, so even smaller lights like those from your phone can trick your body into believing that the sun’s still out. If you absolutely must do some work that involves needing light, try to dim the lights as much as possible.
Cut back on clutter
Some people say that a cluttered room is a sign of a cluttered mind. This isn’t always the case but sleeping in a room that you know is littered with dirty clothes and covered in old magazines won’t do a whole lot to help you get to sleep.
Just as many people report that cleaning their room allows them to clear out their mind. This helps them fall easier into a deep sleep.
Relax before bed
Don’t just go to bed as soon as you get home after work. Do some relaxing activities – that don’t involve LED lights. That means no TV or gaming an hour or two before bed.
Try meditating or doing some light reading to help clear the thoughts out of your brain so you can get a good night’s sleep.
Have a bedtime drink
There are lots of drinks that you can have before bed that will help you fall into a deep sleep. Warm milk will provide you with a lot of tryptophan that will help relax you.
Chamomile tea, or other herbal teas, can help put you to bed. For more serious cases of insomnia, heavier herbal teas like kava kava and mulungu can be useful for sleep.
Caffeine, especially that from coffee, affects people for much longer than they tend to think. You’ll usually be fine if you have a coffee in the morning, or even one around noon, but if you drink coffee much after 4PM, you might have to expect some problems with insomnia.
There are other caffeinated beverages that don’t provide the same risk of insomnia, though. Green tea contains L-theanine which helps to combat the stimulatory nature of the caffeine, and yerba mate contains tons of other active compounds that help to balance it out.
Your body sleeps to rest and restructure itself, so it makes sense that you won’t be able to fall asleep easy if you live a sedentary lifestyle.
If you work at an office job, for example, it’s important that you take time to get some physical activity into your day. If it’s possible, bike to work, or go to the gym afterwards.
Getting a lot of exercise during the day not only makes it easier to fall asleep, it makes it feel better to fall asleep. You’ll feel like you deserve the rest that you’re getting.
Don’t eat right before bed
Your body actually uses a lot of energy to digest food – that’s why you get tired after eating a big meal. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy to go to bed right after you eat, though, because your body also needs energy to help repair itself while you’re sleeping.
If you must eat before bed, make sure you avoid foods that are high in carbs. Enjoy a light snack that’s low in sugar and is easily digested.