As a child, sleep may have come naturally to you. If you didn’t have a persistent sleeping problem like insomnia, you probably never worried about learning how to sleep well – it was effortless! However, as the years pass, achieving a night of restful sleep often becomes more difficult. Whether due to a partner’s snoring, bad habits, or a health issue, you may find that sleep eludes you. Even time-proven tricks like counting imaginary sheep or reading a book may fail to help. Fortunately, we have a number of effective techniques that you can use to learn how to sleep well each night.
How to Sleep Well
Set Up a Peaceful Sleeping Atmosphere
Although you don’t need anything more than a bed to sleep, spending some extra time and money to create a better sleeping atmosphere can help you get more restful sleep. Distractions, including televisions and other electronics, can interfere with your ability to sleep. The temperature of your bedroom can play a role as well. A room that is too warm or cold can keep you awake. If your windows aren’t well covered, streetlights and the morning light can wake you up in the middle of a restful sleep. New additions to your bedroom (like a sound machine) can help you sleep better. Investing in a comfortable bed and bedding can make a difference as well.
Maintain Your Sleep Schedule
Humans are creatures of habit, and this is still true when you sleep. Your body naturally tries to follow the same schedule each day. So if you change your bedtime on a daily basis, you make it difficult for your body to learn when it’s time to sleep. You may fall asleep instantly one day and struggle to fall asleep the next. Establishing and maintaining a set sleeping schedule, even on the weekends, can create a routine for your body to follow and make it easier for you to fall asleep each night. Additionally, by scheduling your sleep, you will be able to ensure that you get enough sleep each night, avoiding the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and oversleeping.
Choose Evening Food and Drinks Carefully
Guzzling two cups of coffee after dinner is probably not going to help you get a good night’s sleep. The effects of caffeine can last for hours after consumption. Smoking and drinking alcohol can cause problems while you sleep as well. In addition, take care with late night snacks; eating a large meal filled with heavy foods can cause heartburn and interrupt your sleep. Small snacks, like a handful of nuts or a piece of toast, are better as you get close to your bedtime.
Create Bedtime Rituals
Planning bedtime rituals can help you sleep longer and more deeply. Start with finding some relaxation techniques you can use, such as reading or meditating. Staying away from your TV and computer just before bedtime can help your brain begin to calm down. Listening to quiet music while taking a warm bath can also help your mind relax and prepare for rest. During your relaxation time, avoid filling your mind with worries or stress. Try to feel peaceful and calm to improve your chances of falling asleep the second your head hits the pillow.
Visit Your Doctor
If you have tried to improve your sleep but haven’t noticed any changes, it may be time to see a doctor. Your doctor can help you with some common health issues that can interrupt sleep. For example, if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you may experience heartburn in the middle of the night that prevents you from sleeping, and conditions like asthma and sleep apnea can also cause sleeping problems. Finally, mental health issues like depression can impact your sleep schedule as well. Talk to your doctor to address any health issues and improve your sleep.
We may joke about beauty sleep, snoring, and counting sheep, but a lack of sleep is no laughing matter. If you struggle to get asleep or stay asleep each night, use the tips above to learn how to sleep well. With patience, dedication, and perhaps some medical help, you should soon sleep peacefully. Sweet dreams!
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