A terrible night of tossing and turning happens to us all at some point. Unfortunately for some, restless nights filled with little or no sleep are far too common. The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated. Continued patterns of poor sleep can cause everything from obesity to car accidents.
The truth is that if you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep, you aren’t going to be able to function at a healthy, optimal level. The good news is there are steps that you can take immediately that will improve your ability to be well rested when you wake up in the morning.
1. Make Time for Sleep
Does creating a sleep schedule seem strange? It shouldn’t, because often it’s the lack of regular, consistent sleep that leads to problems.
When you train your body to fall asleep around a certain time, you will soon find yourself starting to get sleepy during roughly the same time period every day.
2. Keep a Sleep Diary
A sleep diary or log can provide you with important insight into how you rest. Do you tend to wake frequently during the night? Do you often sleep through alarms? The information can then be used to make changes that will improve your sleeping patterns.
3. Quit Smoking
There are numerous reasons why you should quit smoking; as it turns out, improved sleep happens to be one of them. The nicotine in cigarettes acts as a stimulant. Rather than calm you down so that you can rest, smoking prevents you from easily falling asleep. Smoking also causes breathing problems, which can lead to various sleep disturbances and issues.
4. Consider Buying a New Bed
It may be that you are willing and able to sleep, but your quality of nighttime rest is greatly inhibited by your current bed. If that lumpy old mattress is too uncomfortable, you should consider shopping for a new bed. You spend roughly 29,200 hours in ten years in your bed, so having a poor mattress could have some pretty harsh effects on your health.
5. Get Regular Exercise
It’s believed that just 30 minutes of exercise per day can improve the length and quality of sleep. Whether you take up cardio or decide to start jogging, this burst of regular activity during the day may be what you need to get better rest at night.
A word of caution: It’s recommended you avoid vigorous exercise three to four hours prior to sleep. However, if you can’t rest, there are certain yoga poses you can do to help you prepare for bed.
6. Watch Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine in coffee or tea is often heavily relied on in order to fully wake up and function during a busy day, especially if one didn’t get enough sleep the previous evening.
The problem is regular caffeine intake is scientifically linked to poor sleeping patterns. If you simply like the taste of coffee in the morning, strongly consider switching to the decaffeinated variety.
7. Don’t Doze Off During the Day
Are you taking regular naps during the day to make up for lost sleep at night? There’s reason to believe this may do more harm than good. While a cat nap can be okay for persons with regular sleep patterns, for persons with abnormal sleep patterns, it can only serve to make the problem worse.
Instead of taking a lengthy nap, go for a walk or do a bit of yoga. Try to avoid naps until after you’ve reestablished a healthy sleep pattern.
Often poor sleep can be brought on by a combination of factors. Making little adjustments and then sticking to these changes can lead to vast improvements in one’s quality of sleep. This can in turn lead to waking up feeling completely refreshed and better able handle whatever life throws at you during your waking hours.