When you go to bed at night, is your mind still running like it’s trying to finish a marathon? Or, have you given up on trying to fall asleep at a decent time, causing you to spend your days tired and worn out?
Mentally you have a hard time concentrating, poorer memory recall, and a difficult time with life’s ups and downs. Physically, your immune system becomes compromised leaving you open to diseases and illnesses. Your aches and pains increase, and your energy levels become almost nonexistent.
It’s not abnormal to go through periods of insomnia from time to time, especially if you have a lot going on in your life.
For example, if you just started a new job, recently got a divorce, or are enduring a family hardship, sleep may be harder than ever. But, that’s also when it is more important than ever too because your body has to have the time to rejuvenate itself so that you can deal with life with a strong mind and body.
So, what are you to do to increase the amount of hours you spend in dreamland and protect your overall health and wellness? Here are some tips to try:
#1: Create a sleep worthy room
While you may automatically think of your bedroom as a good room to sleep in simply because it has a bed in it, there is actually more to it than that.
For instance, if there is a TV in it and you spend a lot of time lying in bed watching your favorite shows, your body and mind may not be associating your bed with actual sleep so it isn’t necessarily going to take the cue to shut down when you go and lie down for the night.
Also, if you have a room that isn’t totally dark, that could throw off your sleep rhythm as well.
The ideal room as far as sleep is concerned is one that doesn’t have any media whatsoever. Therefore, you’re going to want to remove your television or computer if possible as you don’t want anything that is associated with needing you to be alert and functional – and awake.
If you like to keep your cell phone by the bed (which is a good idea in case of emergencies), turn it to silent not vibrate as the sound of it pulsating across your nightstand can definitely wake you.
You’ll also want to limit the light in the room by putting up room darkening curtains. This is especially important if you live in an area that has a street light or lighted sign outside your window.
Turn your alarm clock display around so the numbers aren’t shining their light directly on your face. It may seem rather minor, but your eyes will register even miniscule bits of light and confuse your body as to whether it should be awake or asleep.
You could also use aromatherapy to help you sleep by spritzing your sheets or the air with a lavender scent that is calming and soothing. Some other scents which are good sleepy time choices are chamomile, jasmine, and rose.
#2: Watch your food and drink intake
Even though carbs and tryptophan (the hormone found in turkey) may feel like they work wonders for inducing sleep, you don’t want to go to bed on a full stomach as your sleep isn’t as restful, not to mention that it’s not good for your body.
You don’t want to be digesting food at the same time that you’re trying to count sheep as it is counterproductive.
If you want to calm your belly and make your body sleepy, you can do so by choosing beverages that have relaxing effects.
For instance, you can warm up a nice glass of milk and sip on that enjoy a hot cup of chamomile tea (decaffeinated, of course). Both of these will soothe your tummy and make it easier to fall asleep at a decent hour.
You’ll want to curb your caffeine intake by noon if you want it out of your system by the time you go to bed as even a small amount of caffeine late in the day is enough to keep you from getting shut-eye.
You may be able to fall asleep, but it’s likely that the caffeine will cause you to wake up earlier than you’d like (like in the middle of the night).
Finally, although you may be tempted to use alcohol to get to sleep, it can actually do you more harm than good if you regularly imbibe on liquor as a sleep tactic. To have one drink isn’t too bad, but any more than that affects the quality of your slumber, leaving you even more tired the next day.
#3: Limit your late night activities
If you normally spend a lot of evening hours in front of your computer or playing video games, that may be a big part of your sleep problem. You can’t ask your mind to run at full force with pure concentration and focus and then just try to shut it off. It doesn’t work that way.
Instead of spending your evening time to engage in activities that require a lot of mental energy, engage in relaxing activities.
Read a good book or watch a low-key television show. Take a long, hot bath or go for a walk. Do the things that help you unwind, not the things that speed you up.
#4: Use white noise
If you live in an apartment or have noisy neighbors, it can be awful hard to fall asleep.
Whether you’re listening to booming voices or karaoke or dogs barking, it’s only natural to expect that you would have an insomnia problem. You may try to tune it out but, if you’re like most people, you find it so irritating that you lie there and get madder and madder until you can’t sleep at all.
When you use a white noise machine, you’ll be able to drown out all of the clamor that is beyond your control and lull your mind into a peaceful sleep.
You can buy one that has the sounds of rain or distant thunder if those sounds are soothing to you and allow yourself to fall to sleep while imagining that you’re lying peacefully in an open hut with rain falling all around you.
#5: Exercise daily
You certainly don’t want to exercise within a few hours of bedtime as working up a sweat can invigorate you and make you extremely wide awake, but if you do engage in daily exercise at least 3-4 hours prior to bedtime your body will tire out more easily and make sleep easier for you.
Whether you go to an exercise class, spend time at the gym or just go for a walk every day, you’ll find that your sleep quality is much better as a result.
Not only does exercise help you release your pent up energy that may be keeping you awake at night, but it also reduces stress. It helps you clear your mind and allows you to let go of the things that may be bothering you.
Sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Try these tips today and you’ll be sleeping better tonight. Sweet dreams.
Cover photo: pinterest.com