We all know that adults are supposed to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you are not already doing that, you need to! But if you are still having trouble falling or staying asleep, try these tips to improve the quality of your sleep and keep you energized throughout the day.
#1: Stay away from brightly lit screens such as phones, computers, TVs, and tablets.
The light from screens keeps the brain alert and makes it harder to fall (and stay) asleep. Make sure to keep them away from you until you wake up in the morning! This might mean that you need to set your alarm earlier in the day so you don’t need to do it right before you go to bed. At the very least, filter out the blue light with an app or glasses that filter out the blue light.
#2: Practice a nightly wind-down routine.
This can include meditation, reading, taking a bath, writing in your journal, listening to soothing music, practicing a breathing routine, or anything else that relaxes you. Remember to stay away from screens though!
- Example: This is my ideal bedtime wind-down. Do my nightly bathroom routine while listening to soothing music. Follow this up by writing in my journal: 3+ things I am grateful for and something great that happened that day. Then I like to read from a book for pleasure (don’t do work or school reading here). Finally, I like to do a guided meditation or breathing exercise that helps me fall asleep.
#3: Practice deep breathing.
Breathing deeply through your diaphragm can relax you and make you fall asleep more quickly. Try this basic breathing exercise:
- Place one hand on your chest and one on your lower abdomen. Close your eyes.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, and feel your stomach rise up as it fills with air.
- Exhale slowly and fully through your nose or mouth, and feel your stomach fall back down.
- Continue breathing this way, focusing on the rise and fall of your stomach. Whenever a worry or thought comes to you, re-focus your attention to the way your breathing or the way your hand rises and falls on your belly.
#4: Exercise. But try to finish your workout a few hours before bed.
Exercise has been shown to help people fall asleep quicker and sleep longer. Some people who exercise too closely to their bedtime feel more wired and have a harder time falling asleep. This is not the case for everyone, but if this applies to you, then try to finish your workout a few hours before bedtime.
#5: Stop drinking liquids two hours before bed.
So many of us wake up in the middle of the night at least once to go to the bathroom. Reduce the urge to go by cutting out your liquid intake. And do yourself a favor, stay away from alcohol in the evening if you have a hard time sleeping. Alcohol can cause you to wake up prematurely and/or result in restless sleep.
#6: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
This helps your body get into a normal circadian rhythm, meaning your brain will signal it’s time to be tired and go to sleep. This is recommended for weekends as well. If you’re a night owl and weekend warrior like me, this can be a tough one. Just do your best!
#7: Don’t watch TV or eat food in bed.
Your brain needs to make the connection that your bed is for sleeping and relaxing activities such as reading, especially if you have trouble falling or staying asleep. Better yet, get that TV out of your bedroom entirely!
#8: Turn your alarm clock away from your eyes and keep your phone face down.
Don’t stress about what time it is. If you keep checking the time, your brain will be more focused on the time than sleeping. Let your body fall asleep when it’s ready and know that your alarm clock will keep you from oversleeping.
If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, move to another part of the house and do something relaxing. When you feel sleepy again, go back to your bed.
What helps you fall and stay asleep? Share that and more in the comments below!
Until next time, happy living!