Now that most of the season’s major holidays are behind us, hopefully, you are feeling more relaxed and can get back to your normal sleeping routine. Getting proper sleep is an important part of our health, and can even add years to your life.
Ideally, you should be getting about eight hours of sleep each night. Each person’s circadian rhythm is different, so it can be a little bit more or less depending on what leaves you feeling refreshed and energized in the morning. Sleep should be comfortable and relaxing, never stress-inducing enough to cause you anxiety. If you are typically stuck tossing and turning each night and becoming anxious about when and how you will fall asleep, you need these tips to help you get the perfect night’s sleep:
Get Your Bedroom Ready for the Best Sleep
There are many factors that can disrupt your sleep. This is why it is so important that you take many of them into consideration in order to turn your bedroom into a true haven for sleep.
Firstly, you want your bedroom to be able to achieve a certain level of darkness, as even the tiniest glow can wake someone up in the middle of the night. If too much natural light comes into the room, consider getting light-reducing blinds or a comfortable sleeping mask.
The ideal room temperatures for sleeping are slightly colder than normal, between 62 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Even in the winter, it is far better to pile blankets on top of your bed than turning up the temperature. This is because hot air makes it more difficult to breathe, and proper breathing is essential to a good night’s sleep.
Consider painting your bedroom a color, like blue, pink, or yellow, known to put you in a relaxing state. Matte finishes are also more conducive to sleep than glossy ones. Eliminate any outside noises by keeping a pair of earplugs handy. This doesn’t mean you want complete silence because then if a noise does occur, it's more evident. Consider a white noise machine if your room gets a little too quiet. In this regard, it all comes down to balance.
Try your best to also leave any pets outside the bedroom. While it can be comforting to have your pet close by, they are known to attract dander and dust mites which can make it more difficult to sleep.
Make Your Bed a Blissful Haven
Everything about your bed should be optimized for sleeping. Pick pillows made from comfortable materials like memory foam, and consider your favorite sleeping positions. If you sleep on your stomach, look for a softer, thin pillow. If you sleep on your side, a firmer, larger pillow is best. Be sure to replace them every year or so. This will also help prevent the accumulation of dust mites.
Your mattress is the foundation of your bed and is the number one cause of sleeplessness. Make sure your mattress suits your needs, is the right size and firmness so that you feel comfortable. Expect to replace it every five to ten years for optimum comfort. Newer mattresses offer a combination of materials and technologies to ensure a blissful sleep.
If your partner is constantly pulling your sheets off of you, or one of you is drenched in sweat while the other is shivering cold, you need this next tip. Consider purchasing several different sets of bed sheets for each of you.
This might be unconventional, but a tip that works is making your bed with one fitted sheet and then using two separate twin flat sheets and blankets for each side of the bed. Each side should be customized to the person’s body temperatures and preferences. Just be sure to tuck the corners into the bed, so this doesn’t look odd once the bed is made up.
Adjust Your Body so Its Ready to Sleep
To ease your body into a restful state, consider laying off the coffee and any other caffeinated drinks from the afternoon on. Also, avoid exercising too late into the evening. While exercise overall will lead to a better sleep, doing it too late in the evening revs your body up to a tipping point where it is no longer beneficial.
Also, stay away from eating too late in the evening. The processes that help your body digest will be working too hard and can keep you awake. If reading relaxes you, try to read with a small booklight so the light source doesn’t keep you awake. Even better, read on the couch and then keep the books out of the bedroom.
You want to literally prepare your body for a restful sleep which often requires dressing the part. Slipping into a cozy, warm pair of socks is one of the best tips for falling asleep. Studies have shown that keeping your extremities warm can speed up the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
If possible, keep your body to a standard sleep schedule on both the weekdays and the weekends. Shifting your sleep patterns each day changes your body’s natural rhythm and can negatively impact your ability to fall asleep. It can even leave you feeling groggy in the mornings.
Put Your Mind in a Relaxed State
If your mind is often racing as you are trying to fall asleep, you might be trying to process the day. Make it a point in the evening, to write down your thoughts and fully process through any thoughts that are keeping you awake. This way by the time you get to bed, you would have already sorted through everything on your mind.
Consider practicing yoga or meditate to ease your mind into a more relaxed state. Take deep breaths and reflect often. This will ensure that you are constantly stimulating your body’s parasympathetic system which induces an overall calming sensation.
If you are really having trouble shutting off your thoughts, try your best to visualize a blissful sleep. Sometimes this alone can help slow down your brain activity and before you know it, you have drifted to sleep. Aromatherapy can also help in this department, lavender is one of the best essential oils for sleep. It has been shown to help soothe the mind, easing you into a restful state.