We’ve all had those long nights where sleep was elusive and we spend most of the night tossing and turning, thinking about how we need a good night’s sleep because there is so much to do the next day. Why is it on the nights when we most need sleep it seems to avoid us the most?
There are many different reasons why we may struggle to sleep in a full and restful way, including:
- The environment that we are in
- Our levels of stress
- What we did throughout the day
To help you counteract some of these things that are stopping you from getting the full night of sleep you deserve, here are five easy ways that you can sleep better.
1. Create a sleep schedule
Having a set sleep schedule will help your body know when it is time to sleep. By going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day, your body can set its internal clock. This clock helps your brain to know when it is time to relax and when it is time to be alert. When you don’t stick to a schedule, your body tends to go into fight or flight mode because it doesn’t understand why you’re not sleeping when you usually do. This causes stress hormones to be released that keep you alert and awake.
To avoid this fight or flight response, set aside time in your schedule in which you can get the full amount of sleep that your body needs. This means that you should set a fixed time to wake up and go to sleep. You will be tempted to alter this schedule, especially on weekends, but sticking to it will help your body adjust to the schedule and leave you feeling awake and refreshed every day.
When creating a sleep schedule there are some things that you can do to help you be successful, including:
- Make adjustments to your sleep schedule gradually. If you need to change your wake-up time because your hours at work have changed, allow your body a night or two of gradual change before changing the schedule. This may look like you going to bed and waking up 30 minutes earlier than before until you gradually come to your target wake-up time.
- Allow for 30 minutes before you go to bed to wind down. Turning off the electronics and starting to read a calming book 30 minutes before you know you need to go to bed can help you feel tired when it comes time to go to bed.
- Most importantly, if you can’t fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes of going to bed, don’t stress about it. Stressing over why you can’t fall asleep is only going to make it harder for you to fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep and you feel very alert or frustrated, find a soothing activity to do and then go back to bed when you are drowsy.
When you are creating your sleep schedule it is important to listen to your body’s needs. Your body may thrive on eight hours or six-and-a-half hours, so how you feel during the day is a good indicator of whether you’re getting enough sleep for your needs. Plan your schedule accordingly. If you are struggling to create or keep to a sleep schedule, a sleep consultant could help you.
Adult sleep coaching services are available to help those that struggle with sleep. This is achieved by implementing proven sleep strategies so that a full and restful night of sleep can be achieved. At Sleepably in Denver, CO, our qualified coaches know what it’s like to struggle with sleep and we are dedicated to creating a plan that will ensure you get a full night of sleep. We help people across the U.S. and even internationally to achieve more healthy rest.
2. Create an environment conducive to sleep
An environment that is good for sleep often looks like a cool and quiet space. Those aren’t the only two things that are needed for a space to be conducive for sleep. To create an environment that is conducive to restful sleep, there are several factors to consider, including:
- Comfort level of your bed and pillow. The quality of your mattress as well as your pillow affects your ability to get comfortable. The proper bed and pillow combination will help provide your body the support that it needs while you sleep so that you don’t wake up feeling achy.
- Along with your bed, the quality of your bedding plays into your sleep. Blankets help your bed to feel comfortable, safe, and inviting. If you have a blanket that is scratchy or sheets that hold in heat, you may spend more time than necessary tossing and turning while trying to fall asleep.
- Having an excess amount of light in your room while you’re trying to sleep can hinder your ability to sleep deeply. When there is light, your body is tricked into thinking that it is day and as a result is unable to sink into a deep, restful sleep. Having curtains that block out external lights and turning off any lights within your room will help you to sleep better.
Having a restful space will help you to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
3. Physical activity
Having too much energy at bedtime will make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Including physical activity in your daily routine can help to release this energy, leaving you tired and ready to sleep. That being said, if you exercise too close to when you need to sleep, you may find your body temperature elevated when you get into bed, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
Try exercising earlier in the day so that the energy that you get from working out can work toward your daily tasks. Then when it comes time for bed your body should be tired enough to sleep.
4. Reduce stress
Stress is one of the number one enemies of sleep. When you are overly worried about a situation, your mind is unable to relax because it is trying to work out a way to fix the situation. If you are unable to resolve the issue before you go to sleep there are a few things that you can try to reduce your stress, including:
- Write down what you are worried about. If you journal about what you are thinking about it could help you to understand the basis of your worry and resolve it. Even if you don’t journal about what is going on, simply writing down your concern will help you to set aside the problem so that you can sleep.
- Meditating can help you clear your mind. Taking time to do some deep breathing and empty your mind of worries will help you to relax enough for sleep.
- Talk to someone about what you’re worried about. Similar to journaling about what you are thinking about, talking with someone can help you to understand what you are worried about.
- Laughing is the best medicine. When you can laugh about something, this creates a chemical reaction that counteracts the stress in your life. This helps your body relax because it feels safe, which in turn helps you to sleep.
Finding the root of what you’re worried about will help you be able to sleep and will help you to think clearly about the situation.
5. Limit daytime naps
Sleeping throughout the day can throw your body’s internal clock off. This clock disturbance can interfere with when you can fall asleep at night. Besides, daytime naps can make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night because your body is not as tired as it would be if you had not napped. However, if you are someone who needs to have a nap during the day, it is best to limit the length of your nap to about 10-30 minutes in the early afternoon.
If you are struggling to get restful sleep at night, or are struggling to overcome insomnia, it may be time to find a sleep coach for adults. Sleepably is here to help those that are struggling by offering sleep training services for adults in Denver, CO, and throughout the U.S. and internationally. At Sleepably we believe that everyone deserves to get a good night of sleep and we are devoted to making that happen one client at a time.