One of the most important factors in feeling your best, is getting a proper night’s sleep.
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our lives in so many different ways. It won’t just age you and make you look tired throughout the day; sleep deprivation can also have serious effects on our success and productivity.
Tiredness makes you irritable, slow, less concentrated, bad at problem solving and unmotivated to keep going. All in turn ruining your chances of being successful in whatever it is that you’re working on.
I used to always neglect my sleep schedule, and used to think that it was a good thing that I could ‘manage’ on only four-five hours a night.
What I realised very quickly once I finally started taking care of myself properly, is that I was very grumpy a lot of the time, constantly felt exhausted and was unmotivated to give my all to the work I was doing.
As soon as I prioritized getting a proper night’s kip, my relationships, health and work all improved.
If you’re one of the many people who struggles to get enough sleep, or struggles to actually fall asleep once you get in bed, then you’re in the right place. I have put together a list of ways that you can get a better night’s sleep, so that you can give your body the well deserved rest that it needs.
9 Ways To Get A Better Night’s Sleep Tonight
REPLACE YOUR MATTRESS
Sleeping on a suitable mattress is at the forefront of getting a good night’s rest – of course!
If you’re sleeping on a poor mattress, this can lead to back and neck pain, and over time can actually do serious harm to our bodies.
Avoid the open spring mattress – these offer very little support and because they’re usually the cheap option, they are made of poor quality materials.
Memory foam or latex mattresses are the most popular at the moment. These are made from breathable, foam material which adapts to weight and heat. As you lay down, the foam base molds around your body, giving the support you need around your back, neck and joints.
Take the time to try out lots of different options until you find something that is just right for you and don’t try to go for the cheaper options. You’ll be keeping your mattress for many years so find something that’s going to give you nightly support in the long term.
OPEN A WINDOW
The body’s temperature naturally drops as bedtime approaches, so by going to bed in a cool room, you are speeding up the body’s natural reactions and signalling to your body that it’s time to rest.
Keeping the room cool also lowers the chance of you waking up sweating – you know that horrible feeling we’ve all experienced where you suddenly awaken feeling hotter than the sun!?
Cool conditions also help the body to naturally produce melatonin, which regulates the sleep–wake cycle, relaxes muscles, offers anti aging properties and enhances your mood during the day.
GO TO BED EARLIER
It’s obvious that going to bed earlier is going to help you get a better night’s sleep. If you’re used to staying up late and just getting by on the minimum amount of sleep that you can handle, you might not notice the effects short term, but it won’t be long before your health, mood and work productivity all catch up to you.
If you’re convinced that you’re still not able to get to sleep, then still get in bed early. Use the time to read a book, meditate or chat to your partner about your day.
It won’t work straight away, but if you commit to a routine, after a few weeks your body will start to adjust and learn that bed time means rest time.
Sleeping in a dark room has been proven to improve your sleep quality.
Our bodies are naturally programmed to sleep at night time, so it makes sense that trying to sleep in a room with too much light is sending our brains mixed signals.
Just like cool temperatures encourage our bodies to produce melatonin, so does darkness – and we’ve already covered that melatonin is the body’s natural sleeping pill.
You can also boost melatonin levels through your diet by eating foods including pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, corn and tomatoes which all naturally contain this crucial hormone.
If you’re not comfortable with complete darkness, then ease your way in, and consider getting a tiny plug in nightlight. Over time, try to wean yourself off using it until you’re comfortable with sleeping in a totally dark room.
Another trick that I like to do is to sleep with the curtains open. The light from the moonlight is just enough to stop the room being pitch black and eerie. Plus, the sunlight coming through the windows in the morning makes it much easier to wake up earlier.
Essential oils have been praised for their benefits in improving many areas of mental and physical health and wellbeing.
One of the most popular essential oils is lavender, as the relaxing scent puts us in a very mellow mood and promotes the feeling of calmness and sleepiness.
Add a couple of drops to your pillowcase each night to encourage calmness and help you to fall asleep faster.
STAY OFF TECH
Try to avoid your phone for at least an hour before you head off to bed.
Text messages and emails from friends, family and work colleagues can cause us unnecessary stress, and keep our brains wired up late into the evening – making it impossible to switch off when it’s time to go to bed.
Put your phone on charge away from your bed earlier in the evening and use the time to spend with family instead or unwind by watching a movie or your favorite TV show.
Avoid going to bed on a full stomach by not eating after 6pm.
Going to bed on a full stomach can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. You’re going to struggle to fall asleep if you’re laying there on a full stomach feeling rather nauseous as a result of that food just sitting there in your mid section.
Plus, eating before bed is one of the factors most attributed to weight gain. When we are asleep, everything in our body slows down, including our digestion. It takes much longer for the food that we have just eaten to be fully digested and there is a higher chance that those extra calories will be stored in our body as extra fat.
CREATE A ROUTINE
Our bodies work best when we create routines for ourselves. So if you wake up and go to bed at the same time every single day, you’ll find it so much easier to wake up early as well as fall asleep when it’s time to.
That means weekends too I’m afraid. If you stick to this, you’ll soon notice yourself waking up at 7am on Sundays without even setting an alarm.
Don’t see it as a missed opportunity for a lie in – if you get into this habit, before you know it you won’t even want to sleep in late and you’ll lead a much more productive life all the way through the week.
EXERCISE IN THE DAY
If you’ve tried every other thing on this list, and you still can’t get to sleep at bedtime, then try upping the amount of exercise that you’re doing during the day.
Exercise isn’t just important to those of us who are trying to lose weight – getting enough exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy heart, reducing blood pressure, improving your mental health and mood and strengthening your bones and muscles.
You don’t necessarily need to spend hours in the gym (unless you want to, and that’s great if you do) but spending 30 minutes to an hour every day exercising in some way, whether that be jogging, yoga, practicing aerobic exercises or anything else that you enjoy will help tire your body out – in a good way – so that when it comes to bedtime, falling asleep is that little bit easier.
To Finish Off…
I really hope you enjoyed this post and if you’ve been struggling with sleeping, then this post gave you some actionable tips which will help.
Let me know your favourite tips and tricks that you like to practice to improve your sleep quality – especially if you have any ideas that aren’t on this list.
Make sure to check back here regularly as I post new lifestyle, fashion and finance tips on The Angelina Archives every single week.