It’s not unusual to have an occasional restless night, but when you have consistent trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep, it’s time to re-assess a few personal habits.
Number two on the list is a real struggle for me; do any of these apply to you?
6 Simple, Natural Strategies for a Better Night’s Sleep
Nix the caffeine.
Some people don’t seem to be affected by an afternoon cup of coffee or tea, but it will keep me up for hours past my bedtime. I can only have one cup in the morning, and researchers have found that caffeine consumed even 6 hours before bedtime resulted in significantly diminished sleep quality and sleep quantity. Even if you think it’s not affecting you, consider giving it up for a few days and see if you sleep better without it. At the very least, commit to no caffeine after 2 p.m.
No electronics after 5 p.m.
Our physician shared this tip with us; did you know that using your smartphone or tablet at night can disrupt your sleep? Many of us can admit to scrolling through our Facebook newsfeed or opening up an ebook after we crawl into bed. Problem is, the backlit devices cause a reduction in our melatonin levels, causing us difficulty when we try to fall asleep. If you don’t want to give up your evening electronics, check out these special blue light reading glasses for backlit screens.
Create an evening routine.
This routine may look different for everyone, but we need a routine. Go to bed at the same time each night so your body can begin to anticipate it. Consider a warm bubble bath. Light a lavender-scented candle. Close the curtains. And never go to bed with cold feet; research shows that toasty toes will help you fall asleep more quickly.
Re-think the afternoon nap.
Sure, a 5-10 minute power nap works wonders, but that hour-long nap while watching Netflix? Not a good idea. Have a consistent sleep schedule, and stick with it. Don’t allow yourself to just nod off during the day.
Exercise, preferably early in the day.
Not only does 30 minutes of exercise help lift depression, but it helps you sleep better. Regular exercise contributes to a deeper sleep and lets you wake up feeling rested. Just don’t exercise too late in the day — it may energize you and keep you awake!
Wake up to a bright light each morning.
This is especially important for maintaining a sleep schedule in the dark, winter months if you live up north. Bright light helps stop melanin production, increases your energy, and helps boost your metabolism. Consider investing in a bright white therapy light like this one I personally own.