Sleep is known to be one of the underestimated ‘activity’ to achieve the best health we could get. As lovely as it can be, being able to make a straight 8 hours of sleep every night is next to impossible. There are lots of things to do during the day, and when we try to sleep, our brains suddenly function at its finest.
1. Set a “Go to Bed” Alarm
Alarms aren’t just for waking up. Setting the alarm to go to bed can help your body get used to calming down at the same time every night.
2. No Booze Before Bed
According to scientific journal Alcoholism: clinical and experimental research, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns and reduce the time you spend in REM sleep.
3. Nap Proactively Throughout the Day
Set a schedule and nap on purpose. According to W.Christopher Winter, a sleep consultant for professional sports teams, taking purposeful power naps can help make up for lost sleep at night. Try setting the alarm to take naps during the day.
4. Use Warm Socks to Sack Out Quicker
Studies have shown that the relative warmth of the hands and feet is one of the best predictors of how quickly you’ll fall asleep, so bundle up your digits with some toasty socks.
5. Keep Your Bedroom Cool
According to Dr. Christopher Winter, M.D., extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum can throw a wrench in your sleep cycle. Shoot for somewhere in the middle, but err on the cold side, since bundling up also aids sleep.
6. Avoid Big Meals Late at Night
According to Kelly Glazer Baron, Ph. D., M.P.H., a sleep researcher at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, “Your body is not designed to digest while sleeping,” and protein is particularly tough to digest.
7. Keep Your Bedroom Quiet
William C. Dement, MD, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and author of The Promis of Sleep, points out that the real trouble with unexpected noises is that they might wake you during a shallow sleep cycle. If you can’t avoid noise, buy some cheap earplugs.
8. …But Use a Little White Noise Instead
Thomas Roth, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, says that it’s the inconsistency of sound that wakes us up. Steady, soft, white noise can help some people snooze and drown out other light noises.
9. Don’t Skimp on Your Mattress
To reduce nighttime disruptions, splurging on a good mattress goes a long way. According to Consumer Reports, you should be changing mattresses about every ten years anyway.
10. Practice Deep Breathing
NPR reports that practicing deep breathing can benefit the digestive, immune, and cardiovascular systems – plus, it’s just relaxing – all of which help you sleep.
11. Power Down Well Before You Go to Bed
Studies conducted by the CDC show that using backlit screens before bed can reduce the hours spent sleeping. Try powering down a few hours before you want to fall asleep.
12. Snuggle Up with Some… Lavender?
Researchers at PubMed found that lavender acts as a mild sedative and can help put you to sleep (as long as it’s not too strong).
13. Soak Yourself
In addition to simply being relaxing, a hot bath can help regulate hormones and loosen tense muscles, all of which can encourage deeper longer sleep.
14. Ask Your Doctor About Sleep Apnea
Of the millions of people who suffer from sleep apnea, a significant portion go undiagnosed.
15. Don’t Hit That Snooze Button!
As enjoyable as it feels to go back to bed, it’s not high-quality sleep, and those five minutes mostly don’t do anything for you.
16. Keep it Dark
You may not even notice all the lights in your room. Maybe your alarm clock glows. Maybe light from the kitchen leaks through the door. An easy solution? Try a sleeping mask.
17. Think About Today (And Tomorrow) Before Bed
Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., instructor of psychiatry at the Behavioral Sleep Medicine program at the University of Pennsylvania, notes that a racing mind disrupts sleep. Recap the day and make a to-do list before you hit the hay.
Try some of these hacks and say hello to a healthier lifestyle.
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