Getting adequate sleep is important – it helps with memory and concentration, directly affects your productivity, as well as your physical health, your mood and the quality of your life. Lack of good sleep can take a serious toll on your energy levels, your emotional balance, your focus, and even your weight!
Simple Steps to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Yet many of us regularly have a problem with getting enough of adequate sleep, toss and turn all night and can’t wake up fresh in the morning. Modern life requires us to operate on a pre-planned wake-up time and keeps us busy till late in the night but when it comes to sleep, we rarely take the time to plan it and often overlook it.
“Sleep is a criminal waste of time…”, they say. And some people even teach us how to sleep less and live more. However, for me, getting enough sleep is very important for my productivity and my overall quality of life. Therefore, I make sure that I provide a good night’s rest to my mind and my body and, in the next lines, I will share with you my tips on how to sleep better and wake up fresher. If you are having troubles with falling asleep or you twist and turn all night and never feel energetic in the morning, you may like to try some of the suggestions that I will post below.
Not so long ago, I was suffering from sleeping issues, wasn’t able to get a quality night’s rest and was feeling very moody during the days. However, since I started making simple changes in my daytime routine and my bedtime habits, I started to notice a positive impact on my quality of sleep.
I am now feeling mentally sharp, emotionally balanced and full of energy all day long. In the ideal situation, I would go to sleep when I feel tired, and I’d wake up naturally when I’ve had enough of sleep.
Our body is an intelligent organism, which, if we don’t mess with it, would sync our biological processes to the day and night cycle and we won’t have to think about it. Unfortunately, we all know that this can’t really happen in this modern world.
The society system that we live in has its ways of taking over our lives by constantly scheduling our time. Usually that starts pretty early, when we are still kids. When we finally escape the schedule at the end of the day, we naturally want to spend the few hours left on some actual fun stuff.
After all, there are so many books to read, movies to see, video games to play, parties to go on, and friends to get pizza at midnight with. There are just too many distractions and we tend to mess our body’s systems with them. For instance:
- Prioritizing work, class, and yet another episode of the favorite night series over a good night’s sleep.
- Partying till the morning light on Fridays and Weekends.
- Exposing ourselves to artificial light long after the sun has set.
- Staring at the screens of our devices till late at night.
- Having energy drinks with caffeine and stimulants in the evening.
- Eating late and overeating right before bedtime, and many more.
Living like that, you aren’t likely to get excellent sleep, nor will you feel well-rested and energetic in the morning. And it goes without saying that you would be least interested in taking on your morning routine or waking up early.
Recommended read: How To Wake Up Early?
Now, I agree that everyone has their individual daily tasks and sleep needs and one size doesn’t fit all, but here are my suggestions on how to establish some basic guidelines on getting a good night’s sleep.
How can I get a better night’s sleep?
♦Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. It is important to listen to your body and help it set its internal clock in order to optimize the quality of your sleep.
♦Choose a bedtime when you normally feel tired and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Don’t sleep in on weekends because the more your weekend and weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you’ll experience.
♦Limit your exposure to light (both natural and artificial) if you want to shift to sleeping mode. While exposing yourself to the sun in the morning can be very refreshing, avoid sunlight in your bedroom when you want to sleep and limit your interaction with the screen of your devices about one hour before bedtime. When its time to sleep, turn the TV off, put the curtains and dim the light.
♦Get some movement during the day. The more energy you spend, the easier you will fall asleep when you hit the bed. If your work is sedentary and you don’t have much activity, apart from mental work, try to exercise a bit or go for a walk. I do that often and it really helps me to wind up my mind and get a sweet feeling of tiredness.
♦Watch out what you eat and drink before bedtime. Drinking coffee in the evening won’t get you a good zzz and neither will do a heavy meal. Try to have a warm relaxing tea instead and some light dinner and you would have a chance to fall asleep much easier.
There are many herbs that smell amazing and can help you relax without the need for artificial supplements and one of my favorites is the Mint cup of tea. But I need to warn you – avoid drinking too many liquids right before hitting the bed because you may spend the night in the bathroom 😀
♦Improve your sleep environment. What I have found works best to set my mind to the sleeping mode is to make my room dark, cool, and quiet. If you don’t have thick curtains or can’t eliminate the noise from traffic, neighbors or machines, invest in a set of sleeping mask and earplugs.
This works best if you share a room or want to sleep in hours when the family members are up. Also, make sure you get enough of fresh air, change the sheets with freshly washed ones, use lavender essential oil or another natural relaxing air freshener, put your favorite pajamas on and cuddle up in a fluffy cover.
♦Make sure your bed is comfortable. In case that you often wake up with an aching neck or a sore back, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide optimal support for your body.
♦Clear your head. Now, this is an important one because if you often find yourself unable to sleep or waking up at night due to anxiety or chronic worrying, you will definitely won’t be able to get the much needed night rest.
Oftentimes, stress, anger from the day, worries with your family, or school can keep you awake and affect your productivity and your quality of sleep. But there are steps you can take to learn how to stop worrying. For instance, what I do when I am stressed and counting sheep doesn’t help me is, I use relaxation techniques for better sleep.
Relaxation techniques for better sleep
- Deep breathing – With your eyes closed take deep, slow breaths and focus on each inhale and exhale.
- Progressive muscle relaxation – Start with tensing all the muscles as tightly as you can, and then completely relax them one by one by working your way from your toes up to the top of your head.
- Visualizing a calming and peaceful place – With your eyes closed, imagine a place that is peaceful and calm, and concentrate on how relaxed this place makes you feel.
Here are some helpful bedtime rituals to help you relax more
- Take a nice warm shower (Add some Magnesium Bath Crystals or Essential Oils for extra relaxation)
- Listen to soft, relaxing music or white noise in the background
- Do some easy gentle stretches or yoga
- Listen to audiobooks
- Do some light reading
- Dim the lights in the hours before bedtime
- Ventilate the bedroom and adjust the desired temperature
Recommended read: 8 Habits For A Better Quality Of Life
These wind-down rituals, if repeated regularly are designed to disengage your brain from things that require a high amount of mental activity and to signal to your body that the day is over and that it’s time to rest. Similarly to a morning routine, the evening routine is equally important and can help you calm down so you can fall asleep.
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Other reads on good night’s sleep:
Healthy Sleep Tips – Including ideal room temperature, noise, and light control.
5 Foods that Help You Sleep – Food, related directly to serotonin, the hormone that helps promote healthy sleep.
Stress Less, Sleep More – Tips for reducing stress to promote better sleep.