1. Avoid/Limit Alcohol, Caffeine, and Nicotine
These compounds are notorious for triggering increased wakefulness, making it almost impossible to fall or stay asleep. For this reason, it would be advisable to steer clear of anything with nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol especially 6 hours to bedtime. This means no chocolate, tea, coffee cola, or cigarettes after 3 in the afternoon. Smoking can have several adverse effects on your health making the condition even worse.
Some people may turn to alcohol while relaxing or at the end of the day. While it might seem to bring sleep, alcohol contains stimulants that increase your heart rate and also interrupt you from sleep. Drinking more than a glass of alcohol/wine in the evening will also force you to make repeated trips to the bathroom, affecting REM sleep. That said, it would be best to avoid alcohol at least 3 hours before bedtime, and limit the number of drinks to 2 per day.
2. Create A Sleep-Friendly Environment (Bedroom)
The bedroom/sleep environment needs to be conducive to promoting sleep. Make an effort to create a comfortable and serene environment to induce sleep. Sleep experts recommend keeping the temperature in the bedroom a few degrees lower, ensuring it is dark and quiet, free of any distractions. If your neighborhood is noisy, consider investing in earplugs or a white noise machine. The machine will help block noise waves allowing your brain to zone out and slide to sleep. For a dark bedroom, consider installing blackout curtains or drapes, and ensure no light-emitting device is turned on whilst in the bedroom. The bedroom ought to be well-ventilated to create the desired ambiance for sleep.
Set bedroom temperature to at least 60°F for the best results. Consider investing in a new mattress, find the best mattresses for 2022 holiday season. Sleep experts recommend designating your bedroom for sleep and sex. Everything else, especially work or watching TV, should be done elsewhere to strengthen mental association with sleep.
3. Establish A Pre-Sleep Routine
Tricking the mind and body to slow down and relax is an excellent way to promote sleep. This however means refraining from any activities that would trigger increased alertness and slowly transitioning to relaxing activities. Reading a book, taking a warm shower, listening to relaxing music, doing light yoga, and dimming the lights before bedtime can help set the mood for sleep. It would help if you also avoided psychologically and physically stressful activities that would cause increased production of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for wakefulness and alertness.
4. Only Go To Bed When Tired And Sleepy
Never hit the blankets unless sleepy. If you’ve been tossing and turning for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and try engaging in relaxing activities. Try reading a book or listening to music from another room, and only go back to bed when really sleepy.
5. Quit Clock-Watching
There are moments when the time will seem to move slowly, especially when in bed. Although you might not notice, clockwatching only increases cortisol or stress levels in the blood, making sleep elusive. As mentioned before, it is better to get out of bed and engage in something else if unable to sleep than clockwatching. If possible, turn the clock to face away from you, get out of the room, and look for something soothing to do. Taking a warm shower or drinking milk as you read a book or listen to relaxing music almost always works for many people.
6. Let The Morning Sun Shine On Your Face
Natural light is one of the best remedies for sleep. Let the natural sunlight inside the room, if possible, by drawing the curtains first thing after waking up. Natural light helps reset the circadian rhythm, triggering reduced melatonin production and increased cortisol levels in the blood.
7. Keep A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Create a habit of going to bed and waking up at almost the same time every day. Sticking to a strict sleep schedule makes it easier to establish a regular circadian rhythm, making it easier to sleep soundly at night. You’ll however need to stick to the routine even on weekends and holidays for the best results. The first step is usually the hardest; nevertheless, it will be easier with each consecutive day. It is advisable to allocate at least 6 hours of sleep per night. Too much or too little sleep can throw your circadian rhythm in disarray, leading to insomnia or worse.