Quit Counting Sheep: 8 Tips for Better Sleep That Actually Work
Theoretically, the idea of restful sleep seems easy to accomplish. You lie down, close your eyes and lie still until you nod off to sleep. Simple, right?
Unfortunately, almost everyone knows that’s not true. Whether you can’t seem to quiet your anxious mind or you had caffeine too late in the day, sleep can be elusive. In fact, roughly 70 million Americans have a hard time getting a good night’s rest. Whether it be poor sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) or sleep efficiency (the quality of rest you get from the time you get in bed to wake-up time), restless nights can lead to different health problems like high blood pressure, fatigue, depression and a weakened immune system.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to bed empty-handed. With these eight sleep tips, you can set yourself up for success when you turn out the lights.
Eight tips to getting the most out of your sleep
You’ve probably heard some of these sleep tips before. That said, we’re including even well-known suggestions because research (and experience) shows that they work.
1. Try natural remedies
Still not easily drifting off? Or are you waking up in the middle of the night on a regular basis? Implementing natural remedies like CBD oil or herbal tea can help — without the daytime grogginess and dependence that can come with many sleep medications.
These eight sleep tips should go a long way toward helping you get the rest you need and deserve. If you’re still struggling, though, talk to your doctor. Sleep is critical, and it’s worth putting in the work to figure it out.
2. Limit your naps
In a similar vein, naps can throw off your body’s internal sleep processes, especially if they’re lengthy.
Experts say to aim for a nap of somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes. Not only does this limit the grogginess you’ll feel upon waking up, but it also prevents you from feeling too rested when you hit the pillow that night.
3. Have a regular bedtime
Your body has a built-in sleep-wake cycle. It’s supposed to regulate your sleep and wake times, and is stimulated by clues like light or time of day. Meet your circadian rhythm.
If you struggle with sleep, this is a good bet for better rest. The trick is that in order for your circadian rhythm to work, you actually need to get into a rhythm. That means going to bed and getting up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends).
4. Wear these pajamas to bed
Feeling constricted or sweaty isn’t going to do your night any favors. Opt for loose, breathable fabric (hint: cotton wins here) when you’re picking pajamas. If you’re up for it, science says it might be best to skip the clothes altogether if you aren’t a sweaty sleeper.
5. Turn on your AC
When it comes to rest, cooler is better. Several studies suggest adding thermostat adjustment to your arsenal of sleep tips.
Ideally, your room should be somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If your sleeping area gets hot during the day, invest in blackout curtains and keep them closed during daylight hours.
6. Stay off your phone before bed
If your issue is the initial act of falling asleep, blue light could be to blame. Electronic devices like your phone and TV emit blue wavelengths of light. This blue light suppresses your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that prepares you for sleep. Your body makes it in response to darkness.
To give your body time to make melatonin to promote better sleep, ditch the electronics at least an hour before bed. If you have to use your devices before bed, you can try using blue light blocking glasses.
7. Monitor your food and drink before bed
Sleep tips extend outside your bedroom. What you eat and drink during the day can either help or hurt your prospects of a good night’s rest. Stop eating at least a few hours before bed. And if you have trouble falling asleep, avoid caffeine six hours before bed, too.
8. Make sure you have the right pillow
The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to fall asleep. That makes it well worth investing in a good pillow. Your energy levels and your neck will thank you.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.