It’s recommended that we get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. In fact, just like good nutrition and exercise, enough quality sleep is essential to our health. We all have a restless or wakeful night now and then, but if you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or awaken feeling you haven’t slept at all, read on. I’ve got some tips that may make all the difference.
Create a bedtime routine. Remember how as a child you had a firm bedtime? Perhaps you also had an evening routine that led up to it — a warm bath and some stories with mum or dad for example? Most of us are creatures of habit — so adopt an adult routine that readies your body and mind for bed. You might consider an evening walk to augment your daily exercise and promote relaxation, a warm bath, a stretch routine, or snuggling under a blanket with a good book.
Try breathing exercises. Try some deep breathing exercises to promote relaxation. Breathe in for a slow count of 10, and exhale for the same. Repeat several times.
Stick to a bedtime. By adhering to a regular bedtime (yes, as often as possible on weekends too), you’ll be more alert upon waking and enjoy a deeper sleep at night. Try it for a couple of weeks and you’ll see the difference.
Quiet your mind. If your head spins when you get into bed, try writing down your thoughts in a journal in the evening or give yourself a specific period of the day (15 minutes for example) where you allow yourself to worry, reflect, or collect your swirling thoughts.
Exercise early in the day. Many people find that exercise too close to bedtime makes it difficult to sleep. There’s a simple solution to this: make time for exercise earlier in the day, or limit evening activity to a walk, some yoga, or a stretch routine.
Stay cool. Most people find they sleep better if the room temperature is on a cooler side – experiment to find a temperature that feels right for you.
Adjust the light. It may be fun to get up with the birds while camping in the summertime, but most of us prefer to stay in our ‘nests’ a little longer than 3:00 AM. Install a room darkening blind or curtains and keep windows closed in spring and summer if peace, quiet, and a dark room helps you sleep better.
Clear the air. Reduce dust is your bedroom by vacuuming and dusting regularly. Sneezing, congestion and allergies can leave you feeling stressed and miserable… they won’t invite a good night’s rest.
Short naps only. If you take naps on weekends, keep them short and take them early enough in the day that they won’t impact your ability to sleep well at night.