10 Tips For a Better Night's Sleep
As we get older sleep can become an elusive friend. I used to be able to sleep 7-8 hours, no problem. But over the last year or so I have had various sleep issues, ranging from trouble falling asleep,falling asleep early in the evening and then waking up and not being able to go back to sleep, too few hours of sleep, to waking up at 4 am for no reason. Or simply waking up and still feeling exhausted. The list goes on and on. Recently I have been implementing a few changes to my habits before bed to insure that I get a decent night's sleep. Below are my 10 tips for a better night's sleep.
1. Go to Bed at The Same Time Every Night
Now this may seem obvious but I know that I am guilty of not always doing this so I'm sure some of you may be as well (you know who you are). I am usually good about getting into bed at the same time every night but on those occasions when I don't I always feel it the next day. Even when I am only late by 10 minutes, that small difference wrecks havoc on my sleep. By going to be at the same time every night you are essentially training your body when to be tired. Which will help with falling asleep. This also ensures that you can have a solid 7-8 hours sleep every night.
2. Have an Evening Ritual
For me my skincare routine is my evening ritual. I start this about a half hour before my bedtime. Like going to bed at the same time every night, creating a ritual helps train the body to know it's bedtime. Your ritual cloud be anything but make sure it is something relaxing that does not stimulate your body too much and make it hard for you to sleep.
3. Take Your Shower At Night
I always take my showers at night. Not only does it cut back on the time I spend getting ready in the morning, it's also a great way to relax and unwind from the day. There is just something so nice and cozy about getting into bed all clean and fresh. Try using a few drops of lavender oil in your shower or bath. Lavender oil is a sleep inducer.
4. Drink a Cup of Herbal Tea
Some herbal teas are great at helping us to sleep. When I was little and I would have trouble sleeping my mom would be give me a hot cup of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy time Tea. It always helped. Just make sure you are picking a tea with no caffeine - stick to herbal teas which usually don't have caffeine. Look for teas with chamomile. lavender, peppermint or valerian in them. All of these jave been shown to have sedative properties.
5. Read a Book
Now this may seem counter-intuitive to what I said about not doing anything to over-stimulate your brain, but trust me, it works. Reading for 15-20 minutes before going to sleep has been shown to reduce stress which helps the body fall asleep (it's even been shown to be more effective than drinking tea or listening to calm music). The other upshot to reading before bed is that you can finally finish that book you've been "reading" but not really.
6. Turn the Heat Off
I am perpetually cold. Like, all the time. But at night, I turn my heat off. Why? Sleeping in a hot room is not only bad for your skin (and sinuses if you have sinus issues), but it can also be bad for your sleep. Turning the heat off or down induces our bodies "hibernation" mode. It is the signal our brain gets to go to sleep.
7. Put Your Phone Down
We are all guilty of it. Scrolling through social media on our phones in bed. Making those last checks to our Instagram or Twitter accounts. This is one of the worst things to do before going to bed. More and more studies are showing a link to smartphone addiction and sleep deprivation. If you have trouble putting your phone down, try sitting it somewhere that makes it hard to get to, like a table across the room.
8. Write it Down
I am one of those people who has a million things swirling in my head when I go to sleep. Things I should have done, need to do, want to do. It's like every thought I was supposed to have during the day decides to pop up as I'm trying to go to sleep. I have been trying to get into the habit of making a list of every thought before I go to sleep. No matter how small or trivial you may feel it is, write it down anyway. I think of it is as emptying out my brain.
9. Eat Dinner Earlier
Late night meals can wreck havoc on your metabolism but it's also a lot of work to ask your body to do while sleeping. Sleeping is your body's recharge time. And eating late can directly affect that. Also, lay off the late night snacks. Ideally we should stop eating at least two hours before we got to bed.
10. Turn off the Lights
I am not very good at this, since I actually hate sleeping in pitch black darkness. But - studies have shown that darkness helps the body to release norepinephrine which is what creates serotonin. And norepinephrine can only be released when it is dark. So lights from, smartphones, TVs, tablets, night lights... all of those things inhibit our ability to produce serotonin which is what or body needs in order to sleep and sleep soundly.
I hope you found these tips helpful. I find even doing a few of them great improves the quality of my sleep. Do you have any tips that I didn't include in my list? Let me know in the comments!