Sleep Tight: Tips For Sleeping Better At Night
Sleep problems affect your health in profound ways. Your mood is less stable, you have reduced ability to concentrate, and sleep loss can even affect your stress hormone levels. Sleep loss makes it harder to stay at a healthy weight and increases problems with joint and muscle pain.
If you're struggling to sleep well consistently, you might contact a sleep clinic to help you. You could have an underlying condition, like sleep apnea, that makes sleep elusive. You can also try these tips to sleep better at home.
1. Go to bed at the same time each night.
Going to bed at the same time each night helps your body to establish a sleep pattern. If you go to bed at the same time each day, you'll feel consistently tired at that time. You'll also wake up more consistently and naturally in the morning at the same time, which reduces your need for an alarm clock. Alarm clocks disrupt your sleep cycle, so you can wake up feeling tired if you're interrupted.
2. Do calming activities before bed.
Some people find that doing an exciting or energetic activity before bed can make it harder to get asleep and stay asleep. For example, if you work out right before you try to sleep, your body might struggle with the change in energy demand, making you feel more awake even though your body is tired and needs rest. Try including more calm activities at night, such as reading a book, listening to calm music, doing some light cleaning, or writing in a journal.
3. Avoid having screens in your bedroom.
The blue light from screens is stimulating to the brain. Instead of recognizing it is getting darker and it is now time for bed, your brain pushes wakefulness. Staring at your phone or computer screen can actually reduce your sleep quality simply because your eyes and brain respond to light stimulus in order to produce the hormones that make you feel more tired.
4. Reduce your caffeine intake.
Caffeine is a stimulant, but people drink it throughout the day. If you rely on caffeine, you brain compensates by trying to produce more adenosine, which is a hormone that increases feelings of fatigue. People block the adenosine with caffeine, so your body makes even more. Slowly, you need more and more caffeine to feel awake, and then you drink it more throughout the day, leading to wakefulness in the evening. Try reducing and eventually eliminating your caffeine intake to see if your body can start becoming more regular with the production of proper sleep hormones.
5. Go to a sleep clinic.
You might need additional help with your sleep than just making small lifestyle adjustments. A sleep study will show if you have sleep apnea or other conditions which affect your sleep quality. A doctor will also be able to tell if you need medication for sleeping to help train your body to stick with good sleep habits. Sleep clinics also have resources like meditation and mindfulness training that can help with getting enough rest.