If you’re yawning while reading this, there’s an excellent chance that you didn’t get enough sleep last night. The rough thing about sleep is that when you get in a bad pattern, you tend to stick with it. It’s so easy to think that things will reset on Monday night, but sometimes life has other plans. Here are ways to ensure that you get better sleep on a regular basis.
Plan out your night routine and stick to it.
You make a huge to-do list whenever you’re taking a vacation, so why not do it for your nightly routine as well? Set yourself a solid window of time to get upstairs, get in your pajamas, remove your makeup, and brush your teeth. Consider buying a dimmer switch for your bedroom if you don’t already have one since that can help you ease into sleep. Then consider spending time dedicated to reading. I’m talking about books, not the internet—you’ve likely had enough screen time today already.
Put your phone away.
We all love our phones, but it’s a huge trap. It’s so easy to get lost in a rabbit hole, especially since your brain is finally allowed time to dwell on meaningless topics like, “When does our neighborhood dispose of Christmas trees?” and “Was that cheesy movie on television based on a true story?” You don’t need the answers to these things right now.
Try to meditate.
Ever try meditation before? It’s a great way to calm your body down. The only thing breaking the screen rule is if you choose a meditation by app or on YouTube, but that’s more for the audio than anything else. Meditations can also be very short, so if you’re not sure you’re into it, it won’t take up much time.
Work on a method to shut down your brain.
If you have anxiety or are just really busy, you might have 15 thoughts floating around in your head preventing you from sleeping. Consider taking melatonin supplements to shut it down or think of another method, like a mantra to repeat to yourself to reach a level of calm.
It’s easier said than done, sure, and you’ve been hearing this advice for a long time. But besides the obvious risks of cancer and lifelong respiratory problems, smoking can also affect your sleep. Sleep Foundation links smoking to insomnia, especially if it’s done at night.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
I know that doesn’t sound fun, but if you’re begging for better sleep, it’s worth giving a shot. Caffeine is a stimulant, and while you might think alcohol will tire you out, it actually disrupts your sleep and will leave you more prone to feeling tired the next day.
You may feel lame going to bed at 8 p.m., but if it’s what your body needs, it’s the best decision you can make. Listen to your body and follow its cues. See how good you feel by going to sleep naturally. Even if you still have five things to do, ask yourself if they could be done in the morning. They might not get done well if you’re tired anyway.
Perfect the nap.
When you wake up from a nap groggy, you may feel like it was a mistake. That’s because there’s a right way and a wrong way to nap. According to Mayo Clinic, you should aim for naps to just be between 10 and 20 minutes, and the early afternoon is the best time to do it. When you feel comfortable in your nap routine, try to nap on the weekends or whenever you have some free time.
Sip on some herbal tea.
If you’re looking for a good pre-sleep beverage to calm you down, consider drinking some tea. It’s healthy for you and won’t keep you awake. Just don’t drink too much of it, since you might need to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and throw off your sleep.
Make your bedroom a place for sleep (and sex) only.
If you eat breakfast in bed on a daily basis, you may not really see it as a place to relax, especially if there are crumbs in bed. Use your bedroom for its intended purpose and you’ll be able to sleep a lot better at night.
Invest money in your bed.
Sometimes, all it takes is a good pillow to help get more sleep. If you’re not fully comfortable at night, your bedroom won’t be a place you’ll want to go. Make it more enticing by making it comfortable. Beds can be expensive, but consider getting one by mail (with a money-back, satisfaction guarantee) to see if it’ll help improve your sleep. Remember, your bed is something you will use without fail every night. It’s worth it to spend money on something that’ll make you comfortable and help improve your health.
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