Following the same schedule each night before bed can make a big difference in how well you sleep. It doesn’t take much to put together an effective bedtime routine. You just need to be willing to make some changes to your lifestyle and your sleep habits. Check out these tips to start sleeping better today:
1. Program your body’s internal clock
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps program your body’s internal clock. This cycle, which is referred to as the circadian rhythm, has a major impact on how easy it is for you to fall asleep. If you go to bed and find yourself laying there for longer than 15 minutes, consider getting up and doing something calming like reading a good book until you feel tired. You can then try going back to bed again.
2. Use your bedroom just for sleeping
Design your bedroom around sleep by making it as quiet and comfortable as possible. Use blackout shades or curtains to keep any light from entering your room from outside. Turning on a fan can help cool down the space. Make sure your mattress is in good shape and that it is comfortable to sleep on. If you have had it for more than 10 years, you should probably replace it. Bedrooms should only be used for sleep and intimacy. Avoid activities like working or exercising in your bedroom. Eventually, your body will come to associate the room with sleep. If you are short on space, try dividing your living and sleeping areas with a loft bed, by elevating your sleeping area you create living space underneath.
3. Leave enough time for sleep
According to Dr. Khoury, the ideal amount of sleep each night is eight hours. Some people do better with more while others can get by with less. You can tell how much sleep you need by paying attention to how you feel the following day. If you feel well-rested and refreshed and don’t get drowsy as the day goes on, you probably are getting enough sleep. Try to train your body to wake up at the same time each day without the need for an alarm.
4. Perform the same nightly rituals
Prepare your body for sleep by doing the same things each night before bed. If you consistently take a warm bath or spend time listening to music before you fall asleep, your body will eventually come to recognize these practices as bedtime signals. Avoid doing any activities that could make it harder to sleep. For instance, you shouldn’t try to tackle your finances right before going to bed. To avoid excess stimulation, don’t use your TV or electronic devices for at least an hour before you go to sleep.
5. Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Try to eat your last meal at least a couple of hours before you go to sleep. If you need to have a bedtime snack, opt for something light like a bit of milk or a cup of herbal tea. Avoid drinking a lot of liquids right before you go to sleep, as well. Otherwise, you may find yourself constantly having to get up to use the bathroom. Foods and beverages containing alcohol and caffeine should also be avoided since they can interfere with your body’s ability to reach deeper levels of sleep.
6. Exercise more frequently
Focus on getting enough exercise each day. Try working out in the morning so that you don’t wind up feeling too stimulated at bedtime.
7. Keep stress in check
When you are feeling anxious, it is hard to get your mind to quiet down. Performing calming activities like yoga or writing in a journal before bed can help lower your stress levels. If you are still struggling to control your stress, consider talking to a counselor to get a handle on your anxiety.