Good quality sleep is one of the components for a healthy and longer life. Sadly, dozing off right after hitting the pillow comes as a struggle for some, which is not ideal. Insufficient sleep can affect your cognition, energy levels, and productivity. And in most cases, chronic lack of sleep can pave the way for major health problems and increase possibilities for premature death.
If this is your problem, you can beat sleep troubles by doing some night routines that increase quality sleep. We’ve compiled the best tricks to help you sleep better. Since not all things work for everybody, you can experiment with a few of them and see what works.
Take extra steps
Walking is a popular exercise for people who want to lose weight but dread lifting weights. But this type of exercise offers massive benefits not only for people who struggle with excess pounds but also for people who want better sleep quality.
Recently, a study revealed that taking an additional 2,000 steps a day can help alleviate your sleep troubles. The participants, who have an average age of 49, reported improved sleep after four weeks of regular walking. They were found to have better sleep compared to their less active counterparts.
If you want a zen type of relaxation to help you sleep better, visualization might work for you. After a busy day, your body needs downtime to ease up and relax your mind. Visualization helps you achieve this goal. Some people with insomnia say visualization works effectively in helping them fall asleep easier and longer.
One effective technique is to visualize energy in your feet and hands slowly withdrawing into your spine and brain until you feel relaxed and calm.
Another way is to tense your muscles. Start by lying on your back and tensing the muscles in your left foot, moving upwards to your calf, thighs, and glutes. Do the same process to your right foot. Then do the same to your left hand, forearm, and chest. Then the right arm. Next is your abs, spine, back, and neck. Then your face. Feel your body relax and allow your mind to drift into a good night’s rest.
Read a good book
Reading a good book is one of the best ways to transition from waketime to sleep time, especially when you have had a rough day. A good story can keep your mind engaged and allow you to forget the clamor of the day.
Research says a good book before bedtime helps to reduce stress by as much as 68 percent and this number is likely to increase when you also do other relaxation techniques like listening to soothing music or sipping tea.
Write down your stress
Since stress starts to become a normal part of daily life, chances are you’ll be bringing your stress to bed with you, which you should avoid at all costs. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that keeps you alert.
Falling asleep is impossible when your mind is in chaos. The best remedy for this is to write all your troubles down. Have a journal and write down all your problems, worries, and troubles. This way, you set aside the things that don’t allow you to have some peace. Once you’ve written down your feelings and emotions, you’ll hit your pillow feeling better and more relaxed.
Create a consistent sleep time
A regular sleep schedule helps you achieve better and quality sleep by setting your body’s internal clock. Consistent sleeping and waking up at the same time allows your body to expect what time to sleep and awake.
Even if you have difficulty falling asleep on the first night, the following nights would no longer be as hard as your body starts to adapt to your new schedule. The sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm is your body’s natural and internal system that regulates your sense of sleepiness and wakefulness. Once you’ve established your body clock, falling asleep would give you less trouble.
Refrain from staring at your clock at nighttime
When you have difficulty falling asleep, refrain from keeping an eye on your clock. The more you fret not falling asleep when you should, the more anxious you become.
If you can’t sleep for about 20 or 30 minutes, get up and do things that can help you relax. You may want to read a book or listen to music. You may do the same thing whenever you wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself unable to return to sleep. But keep in mind to dim the lights. Your goal is to return to sleep and not totally wake up. Bright lights can disrupt your internal clock. So, keep the lights dim as you engage in some restful activity.
Make your room peaceful and quiet
Your room should be conducive to better quality sleep. This means it should be quiet and free of noise. If you live in a busy neighborhood, this may sound impossible. Your best option would be to take advantage of white noise to help mask disruptive noises outside. You can play relaxing music or use a fan.
Some apps are created to cater to this need. Sleepcasts, for example, offers soothing music to help keep your environment peaceful and relaxing. Use this app or you can also play your own soothing music playlist. Thick curtains can also help reduce outside noise.
Allow darkness in your room
Sleep experts recommend sleeping in a dark room. Darkness helps regulate the sleep cycle and enables the body to have lower blood pressure, body temperature, and glucose levels, which are your body’s ideal state for restful sleep.
Your hypothalamus contains cells that regulate your sleep and wake cycle. When your eyes’ optic nerves sense bright lights, it signals your brain to be awake. Make an extra effort to keep your room dark whenever you want to get some zzzs.
Have light meals
Your body is supposed to rest at night. Taking heavy meals before bed forces your body to work hard for digestion, leading to discomfort and disruptive sleep. Eating dinner two hours before bed is ideal. This allows your body enough time for digestion so that you’ll hit your pillow feeling light inside out and have that better sleep quality.