When you’re having a good night’s sleep, the time can go by fast. But if you’re tossing and turning, eight hours may feel like one hundred.
Dealing with chronic or persistent insomnia is exhausting in more ways than one. And if your partner seems to know the magic trick to fall asleep fast, it’s even more irritating.
Yet, restless nights are more common than restful slumber for many of us, especially as we get older. Our bodies change, and so do our sleep patterns. Over the years, we tend to sleep fewer hours, but that doesn’t mean we need less rest. Instead, we wake up irritable and still tired.
For you, it may have been annoying at first. Eventually, though, it becomes dangerous to your health. Missing out on sleep consistently plays havoc with your body’s systems, causing problems like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
No matter how long you’ve struggled with insomnia, all is not lost! Check out these four secrets to getting a good night’s sleep, and put them into action today.
1. Get Some Outside Exercise
Any exercise helps tire your body out, but the fresh air that comes with outdoor activities is even better. Exercise increases the production of sleep hormones like melatonin, bringing on sleep easier.
Being outdoors invigorates you and is excellent for your mental health. The outside air helps you breathe better, opening your lungs and encouraging better overall wellness.
Plus, when you’re in the sun, your body works harder to regulate its temperature. This increases your metabolism and can make you sleepy.
Be mindful of how close to bedtime you get in your workout. Going to bed soon after exercising can make it harder to fall asleep since the initial effects of the activity are stimulating.
2. Create a Sleep-Focused Environment
Look around your bedroom. Is it full of clutter and color, or is it soothing and peaceful?
If you have a lot of pictures and knickknacks hanging on the walls and sitting on surfaces, you may want to find new homes for them. Your room should be clutter-limited. Colors should be neutral or soft shades.
Minimize distractions and maximize comfort. Instead of investing in more “stuff” to decorate your room, make sure you have pillows that are comfortable for your sleeping style. Get a comforter that isn’t too heavy or too light, and sheets that you enjoy sprawling out on.
Turn your bedroom into your sanctuary. Eliminate stress, including phone and TV time. Soon, your body will learn that bedroom = sleep.
3. Make a Consistent Routine
Another way to train your brain that it’s bedtime is to create an evening routine. It works for babies and little kids; it can work for you, too!
Choose a set period before you want to fall asleep. It doesn’t have to be an o’clock type of limit. You can say “two hours before I lay down,” or a specific time. Think about the things you do that make you feel calm and peaceful, then incorporate them into that time.
Here are a few examples:
- Drink a hot cup of herbal tea (lavender or chamomile are natural relaxants).
- Take a bath in a dimly lit room without any distractions.
- Listen to a soothing podcast or calm music.
- Read a book.
- Put your night guard in early to give your mouth time to get used to it before dozing off.
What you shouldn’t do is anything mentally taxing or stimulating. Don’t try to study if your goal is sleep. Sure, it might work, but you’ll probably forget everything you read.
Skip any caffeine after midday because it could still be in your system at bedtime. Avoid heavy meals once you start your nighttime routine (two to three hours before attempting sleep). As the food digests, it can wake you from your lighter sleep cycles.
Don’t fall for the “a glass of wine helps me sleep better” trap. Alcohol has stimulant qualities, so it will depress your system at first, but wake you up after you fall asleep.
4. Avoid Stressful Situations
What increases your stress?
Is it checking your emails? Keeping your phone on you and dealing with problem texts and phone calls? Watching action-packed TV shows and movies? Talking about bills?
Anything that’s stressful should be avoided during your pre-bedtime routine. Stress spikes your cortisol levels and triggers your other fight-or-flight hormones, like adrenaline.
Until these chemicals are out of your system, you’re going to find it hard to fall and stay asleep. Put your electronics up; you can’t solve anything if you don’t get rest! And make a rule within your family — as best as possible — to stay away from stressful topics before bedtime.
Also, you can prefer the Double Bed with TV that makes your luxurious interior.
There isn’t a magic trick that will help you sleep, but there are some tried-and-true secrets you can try. With consistency (remember, it’s all about training your brain and establishing patterns), you’ll be on the path to a good night’s sleep soon!