9 Tips to a Better Sleep
I remember when I was a teenager it was not uncommon to wake up around noon on a Saturday. My mom was always amazed at how long I could sleep. As I get older I notice that it’s harder for me to fall asleep and get enough rest. I’ve learned a few things that have really been helping me and I thought I’d share!
1. Cut Caffeine – The half-life of caffeine, or the time it takes for the average person to get rid of half the caffeine in your system, is about five to seven hours. That means if you drink a cup of coffee with dessert at say 6pm the caffeine could potentially stay in your system until 11pm or later! That’s no good when you have to be up early the next day. I’ve been reading different studies saying that you should have your last cup of caffeine between noon and 2pm.
2. Eliminate Light – These may seem obvious enough, I mean I turn the lights off in my bedroom, but there’s more to it than just a light switch. Any light that invades your sleep space disrupts the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycles. That means avoiding bright lights such as the TV and computer screen before bed. Sleeping in darkness is better for your health, and you will notice a difference in your sleep quality.
3. Get a Routine – Yes, that means a bed time. Don’t need a bed time as an adult? Think again! Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. You can get your body into a healthy routine by going to bed around the same time every night.
4. Eating Rules – I shared above about caffeine, but we should also try to avoid eating 3 hours before bed. The simple reason for this is digestion can actually wake you up at night and interrupt your sleep cycle.
5. Put your worries to bed – I love this idea! If your mind turns to worries at night, keep a notepad by your bedside. When worries come to mind, write them down and address them in the morning. The same thing goes for ideas. My mind tends to become super active as soon as my head hits the pillow. By writing down my ideas I am confident I can remember them the next day and it’s easier to fall asleep.
6. Soak in a Relaxing bath – This is another one I love to incorporate into my pre-bedtime routine. Draw a nice warm bath, add some epsom salt or magnesium salts, and include a few drops of lavender. This really helps me relax.
7. Warm your Feet – I always sleep better in a cooler room. In fact, most people do because your body temperature needs to lower for you to get to sleep. However, if the temperature is too low, it may cause your feet to get chilly. When your hands and feet are cold, the blood vessels constrict, retaining heat in your body and making it harder for you to fall asleep. Since cold feet are strongly linked to the sleep cycle, putting on a pair of socks in bed might be a good way to induce sleep more quickly.
8. Work Out – This is one I know that works, but I need to be better about doing this more often. Working out is a great way to fall asleep faster, get a deeper sleep and improve sleep quality. Just make sure to work out morning, noon or early evening but not right before bed as it can keep you up.
9. Limit naps – Don’t let this tip make you too sad. It’s not that you can’t nap, you should just limit naps to 10-30 minutes and try to take them midafternoon. I was hesitant because I always want to sleep longer when I take a nap (the result of not sleeping enough the night before – a vicious cycle). I’ll set my alarm for 30 minutes and when it goes off I get up. The power naps really work for me and they don’t affect my bedtime.
Do you have any sleep tips?