Regular Sleep Schedule
Your body’s energy runs on a daily cycle, called the Circadian Rhythm. If you don’t have a regular sleep schedule it’s hard for your body to know when it is time to rest and time to energize. By going to bed and waking up around the same time, you set a natural body clock.
Exercising is not only beneficial for your health but also for getting sound sleep. If you find it hard to stay asleep, try 20 minutes of cardio 3 to 4 times a week. You will notice that you are more awake during the day and can fall asleep faster at night.
Do Not Go to Bed on a Full Stomach
When you eat a large meal right before bed, your body uses more energy to digest the food instead of relaxing. Also, your body doesn’t need as many calories, or energy, when you sleep, so it metabolizes food a lot slower.
Do Not Go to Bed on an Empty Stomach
While you don’t want to eat a lot before bed, you also do not want to go to sleep on an empty stomach. When you are hungry your brain stays mentally alert, which keeps your body from relaxing. If you are hungry, try cottage cheese, peanut butter, or turkey.
Keep Your Room Dark
Darkness raises your melatonin levels, which is one of the chemicals your brain uses to regulate your sleep cycle. Immersing yourself in bright lights tricks your body into thinking it is daytime. Two hours before bed dim the lights or invest in thicker window blinds.
Read a Book
Watching TV or looking at a computer before bed can actually make it harder to fall asleep. Artificial light from these devices lowers your melatonin levels making you more awake. Instead, trade your tablet for an old-fashioned book.
The Perfect Temperature
Studies have shown that the ideal room temperature for sleeping is 65 F. With normal bedding and clothing your body will stay thermally neutral. Nothing is worse than waking up sweating or shivering.
This Bed is Reserved for Sleeping
Are you one of those people who do everything on your bed? Don’t use your bed as an office, dining area, or rec room. If you reserve your bed for sleep, your body will “learn” to associate the bed with sleep.
Taking long naps during the day puts your daily cycle out of sync. Most people get really tired in the late afternoon. If you must nap, limit it to about 30 minutes.
While alcohol may help you sleep, its benefit is only an immediate sleep-inducing effect. After a few hours when the alcohol levels in your blood fall, it causes a stimulating effect. If you are going to drink, it is best to stop drinking 4 to 6 hours before bed.
Reduce Back Pain
If you experience mild back pain, it could affect your deep sleep patter. Putting a small pillow in between your knees aligns your hips and reduces the stress on your lower back. If you sleep on your back, put a pillow underneath your knees.
Free Your Mind
Start relaxing your mind an hour before bed. Try to avoid stressful thoughts, planning, or brainstorming. If your mind is racing with ideas or problems it’s going to very hard to relax.