The quantity and quality of sleep both matter when it comes to how you will feel the next day. Getting in sync with your circadian rhythm, your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, will help you feel more refreshed and energized in the morning. Try some of these tips and see if they will help you have a better night’s sleep.
• Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Any slight alterations in this routine will affect how you feel the next day. If you’re getting enough sleep you should wake up naturally. If you need an alarm clock you may need to alter your routine to accommodate this.
• Be mindful of what you eat and drink and when throughout the day. Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it. Drinking too many liquids in the evening may cause you to have to wake up to go to the bathroom. Do not go to bed hungry or stuffed. The discomfort of either of these will interfere with sleep. Avoid alcohol before bedtime as this may help you to fall asleep, but interfere with your sleep once you are out.
• Create a bedtime ritual. Do the same things every night to let your body know it’s time to wind down. Relaxing activities, such as a warm bath, reading or listening to soothing music, can ease the transition from wakefulness to drowsiness. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer or TV are especially disruptive to sleep. Turn these devices off and dim the lights.
• Get comfortable to sleep. Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable for you, keep the room cool and quiet and when it is time to sleep make sure the room is dark.
• Limit daytime naps. If you nap limit them to 10 to 30 minutes, during the midafternoon, to avoid interrupting your nighttime sleep.
• Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity helps you to fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep. Try to finish moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 3 hours prior to bedtime. Exercise speeds up metabolism, elevates body temperature and stimulates hormones, such as cortisol, all of which may interfere with sleep.
• Manage stress. When you have too much to do, and too much to think about, your sleep is likely to suffer. Consider healthy ways to manage your stress – from work, family or school. Getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks are very helpful. Taking a break when needed and spending time laughing with friends if helpful. Slow deep breaths can be very helpful in reducing stress and relaxing your body.
If you continue to have restless nights regularly or develop insomnia, consider seeing your primary care physician.