Getting to sleep at night can be difficult. Whether you have anxiety, insomnia, or just have trouble shutting off your brain at night, a night of tossing and turning can have several sizable impacts on your overall health. As the sleepless nights add up, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure that you get a proper amount of sleep each night. While not everyone will have immediate success after the first method they try, certain habits can get you off to a great start on the journey to a peaceful slumber.
The foods you eat can have a significant impact on the quality of the sleep you get. Snacking on foods that are high in melatonin, such as nuts, eggs, fish, or milk before bedtime can help get your body ready for sleep. Other foods to help you sleep better include chamomile tea, kiwi, bananas, and tart cherries. It may also help to limit your intake of caffeine and sugar in the hours leading up to bedtime to ensure that you are able to wind down more easily.
Staying on a regular schedule can really help to improve your sleep habits. Getting up at the same time every morning (even on weekends) and getting to bed at the same time every night helps your body learn to recognize when it should start to wind down. Additionally, if you adhere to the same routine in the hours around your bedtime, your body will begin to associate certain actions (brushing your teeth, washing your face, etc.) with sleep, and begin to automatically wind down when you start to do these things.
Having the right environment is the key to getting a good night’s rest. Generally, a cool, dark room is ideal for restful sleep. The ideal temperature for a bedroom is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If there are many streetlights near your bedroom window, a set of blackout curtains can help to block the outside light from streaming into your bedroom. A quiet room is best, although ambient white noise can provide a relaxing soundscape to doze off to.
Limiting your screen time before bed can help to ensure that you get to sleep faster. Blue light, which is given off by devices such as phones, computers, and televisions, can disrupt the body’s ability to produce melatonin. Because of this, using these kinds of devices in the two-hour window before bedtime can increase stimulation and significantly delay sleep. If you find yourself scrolling endlessly as you lay in bed, it may be a good idea to turn off your devices an hour or two before you want to sleep. You can also implement a blue light filter on certain devices such as your phone or computer to help reduce the amount of blue light that you take in.
Whether you realize it or not, the thoughts and feelings that you carry with you can often make it difficult to get to sleep at night. Even seemingly trivial things, such as what outfit you are going to wear tomorrow, might have you wide awake past midnight. Set aside some time each night to journal about whatever is on your mind. Venting about arguments, planning meals, forming a to-do list, or even just writing about a show you watched that day are great ways to utilize a journal. Even if you don’t ever read it again, the process alone can help to free up space in your mind to make way for blissful sleep.
Sleep is an incredibly important facet of your life. Without it, your cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities suffer greatly. The results of sleep loss can range anywhere from embarrassing to downright dangerous. If you’re having difficulty getting your sleep habits under control or find yourself to be exhausted during the day, you should talk to your doctor to see if there may be an underlying cause of your sleeplessness.
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