Are you an anti-morning person? Maybe you’re a serial snoozer? Or a seasoned expert in the art of sheep-counting? One thing you, obviously, haven’t mastered is getting a good night’s rest.
Wishing you woke up alert, energized, and ready to rise and shine- instead of exhausted and completely miserable? If the mere suggestion of getting sufficient shut-eye seems ludicrous, it’s time to turn things around. Luckily for you, we know a thing or two that can help you to truly become a master of sleep. Here’s how:
Set a Sleep Schedule
Get in sync with your circadian rhythm, and your quality of sleep will improve. That means going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day- even on weekends. Yes, we all love sleeping in, but the truth is that an inconsistent schedule will make you feel groggy and disoriented the next day.
Not sure how many hours of sleep you need? According to Ying-Hui Fu, a human geneticist at the University of California-San Francisco, “To operate optimally, 90 percent of the human population needs somewhere between seven to nine hours a night.” But, don’t forget to pay attention to your own individual needs!
For example, if 7 hours of sleep doesn’t cut it, don’t ramp up to a full nine hours; instead, add time in 15-minute increments to find your sweet spot.
Follow a Nighttime Routine
Before you go to bed, it is important to take the time to relax and unwind. Set aside, at least, 30 minutes to develop a nighttime routine. This nightly ritual will signal to your mind and body that it’s time for sleep.
- Reduce your stress by preparing for the next day. Pick out your outfit, pack your lunch, or write a to-do list… whatever puts you at ease.
- If stress is keeping you awake, try writing about it. Writing your thoughts down is a great way to clear your head and relax. Keep a journal next to your bed to help you clear your mind.
- Set your electronics aside at night. The blue light from television and computer screens suppresses melatonin– the hormone you need to drift into sleep naturally.
- While it’s best to avoid intensive exercise just before sleep, consider adding some gentler movements into your nighttime ritual. Meditation, light stretching, or even some nighttime yoga can help you prepare for a restful night ahead.
- Try a soothing herbal tea. Even decaffeinated teas contain some caffeine, so shop wisely! Some kinds of tea are specifically labeled for bedtime use, but you can also look for herbal teas with chamomile, lavender, valerian, St. John’s Wort, and spearmint.
Optimize Your Sleeping Environment
Making some tweaks to your bedroom can work wonders. Try removing unnecessary clutter, keeping your electronics in another room, and setting the room temperature between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re bothered by noise or light, try a white noise machine, earplugs, blackout curtains, or an eye mask.
If you often wake up feeling tired and stiff, your pillow or mattress could be the culprit. Examine your mattresses and pillows for any sagging, lumps, or general wear and tear. If you need to purchase a new one, take your time to find the best option for you. Some things to consider while shopping are your sleeping position, the materials used, and whether or not you snore. If you have allergies, look for anti-allergy covers for your pillow and mattress.
These changes and new habits may take a little time, so be patient. If you are intentional about making sleep a priority, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of a life well-slept.