We have probably all been told in our childhoods that it’s good to regularly get a good night’s sleep. There is a number of health reasons for that, ranging from better immune system to better cognitive functioning. You must’ve noticed that on days when you’re lacking only a couple of hours of sleep, you find it harder to concentrate, think, and stay focused. I personally also normally wake up with a sore throat if I’ve been going to bed too late in the last few days.
Sleep is important for our bodies as well as the mind – when we rest, our brains process information from that day and files them away into our long-term memory. Any of us who had ever pulled an all-nighter can tell that the day after, it becomes much harder to recall some of the details from the last two days.
Ok, so we’ve established that getting enough sleep is important. But how do we do that, with our busy schedules and exciting TV series airing at 2:00 am? This article will give a few suggestions on how to get more sleep out of your nights. If you’re looking for even more tips, why not sign up for our newsletter.
1. Create an evening routine
There are probably many things that you do just before you go to bed – maybe you take a hot shower, or have a cup of tea, or watch TV, or read. These things are what constitutes your evening routine.
It’s great to have such routine set up so that your mind and body ‘recognise’ when it’s time to start feeling tired. Decide on which are the activities that you’ll do just before going to sleep and try to follow them every day.
It’s a good idea to include planning the next day in your evening routine – see tip #5 for reasons why.
2.Turn off all over-head lights
Over-head lights seem unnatural to the body when it’s dark outside. Be sure to only use smaller light sources like desk lamps or bedside lights in he hours before sleep to ease your body into ‘night mode’.
Also, it might be a good idea to replace all light bulbs in your bedroom with low-wattage ones so they’re not as bright.
3. Turn off electronic devices
This one is hard to follow, but very essential. According to our brain, when we look into the light, it’s day outside – and so it’s a lot harder to fall asleep after staring into a screen. Before bed, there shouldn’t be any phones, laptops, or tablets around, and it’s best to also cut out TV (see #7 for another reason why). Rather than those, pick up a good book – oh, and e-readers are fine as long as they don’t shin
Obviously, you’re going to have to be at least somewhat tired to be able to sleep. These days when many of us office workers live a primarily sedative lifestyles, we often feel mentally tired at the end of the day, but still fill pretty restless. Getting adequate physical activity will fix that. Exercise every day to burn all that extra energy that makes it harder for you to fall asleep
5. Write down your worries
Do you toss and turn when it’s time to sleep due to all the worries you have? When will you find a new job, what will your boss say about taking the time off, or your wife finding out you have a daughter she knows nothing about – many of us have such worries. You’ll need to figure them out on your own, but not at night – so write them down in your worry diary. They will seem a lot less intimidating in the morning.
Similarly, if you find it hard to fall back asleep when you have a great idea in bed or just think about a task that needs to be done tomorrow – keep a simple notes on your bedside. That way, you can simply scribble whatever’s on your mind and then (hopefully) quickly fall back asleep.
6. Follow a sleep schedule
We have an entire article written about sleep schedule, so I suggest you go read that. But just a very quick skinny: go to bed and get up every day at the same time (even on weekends). And if changes are needed, make it gradual.
7. Avoid stress before bed
This is a big one – encountering stressful situations before bed will not only make you toss and turn worrying about it, but will also reduce the quality of your sleep once you fall asleep. If at all possible, do not check your emails before bed, avoid talking to conflictive people, and don’t watch TV shows that cause anxiety (for me, these are crime series and news – you should determine the type for yourself). This tip includes exercising before bed as your heart rate will go up and you’ll likely find it harder to fall asleep. However, if you’re looking for some relaxation by moving your body, try these yoga poses before bed.
8. Fix your bedroom up
Ideally, your bedroom should only be used for sleep. You’ll find it a lot easier to follow your sleep routine if you have a separate place where you go to rest – however, it also makes sense to fix this place up a bit. Make sure that it’s always tidy so you don’t get too wound up about the mess in the evening. If should be just the right temperature, too, and dark enough to help you fall asleep quickly. Check out these essential oils to make your bedroom even cozier.
9. Bed snacks
Eating a lot of fatty foods in the evening might cause you to wake up a lot at night. Replace the dinner leftovers before bed with some vegetable juice or a simple salad. They say that peanut butter and celery make the perfect before-bed snack.
10.Less caffeine and alcohol
Same, unfortunately, goes for alcohol – consumed in the evening, it may disrupt your sleeping pattern. Be careful to also avoid caffeine at least a few hours before bed as caffeine actually stays in the system for a lot longer than the initial effects are present.
And there you have it, 10 tips on how to get more sleep. Definitely the most effective one is having a consistent sleep schedule, and it will not only help you get more sleep, but also make you feel much more rested in the mornings so you can wake up more easily.
Looking for even more tips on improving sleep? Be sure to also read our guide on how to get good sleep by clicking here.