If you’re struggling to get to sleep at night and experience disturbed sleep, chances are you will wake up in the morning feeling tired and sluggish. Try thinking about what you do before you go to sleep, what are your bedtime habits? Watching TV until late, flicking through your phone in bed until you notice it’s really late and only then, finally, switching the light off? If this sounds familiar then you are not alone, this is the same routine as many and is a root cause of poor sleep and the reason you’re waking up feeling tired.
The key to breaking poor bedtime habits starts with understanding just how much sleep your body requires. Adults generally need between 7 and 9 hours sleep a night in order for mind and body to rest and reset. The way to determine how much you need, try letting your body fall into its natural sleep cycle. Go to sleep early and allow yourself to wake up naturally. It will take a couple of weeks to recognize the pattern as your body adjusts and establishes its natural rhythm. Once you have your magic number of hours, you can set bedtime and wake up time accordingly. Don’t forget that this is relevant 7 days a week, even on the weekend. Our bodies like routine and sleeping late on the weekend will disrupt the natural sleep cycle.
Eating healthily during the day and watching what you eat and drink at night will also help you fall asleep easier and remain asleep. Avoid any caffeinated drinks in the evening altogether and if you need to snack before bed, stick to fruit, nuts or even oats. All these foods promote sleep and in small amounts are easy to digest, setting you up for an undisturbed night.
Phones, tablets, and computers should be kept out of the bedroom. The blue light emitted from electronic devices confuses your body’s natural sleep cycle and stimulates brain activity when you should be winding down. Turn off the devices at least half an hour before sleep and keep the bedroom as a place to sleep.
Once you have your room as a sanctuary of calm, you can practice relaxation techniques to help drift off; meditation, deep breathing or even reading a few pages of a book can help you gradually fall asleep. A cool room and a cool mattress will help to keep you sleeping peacefully, undisturbed by the discomfort of overheating.
These first steps to improving your sleep start with recognizing the bad sleep habits that you may have unknowingly picked up. Simple changes to your routine and a regular sleep pattern will promote a good sleep cycle and leave you feeling well rested. You will discover falling asleep becomes easier and periods of wakefulness during the night become less, leaving you well rested and productive during the day.