Who hasn’t experienced it? You’re in the midst of a glorious night sleep, comfortably dreaming away, and suddenly you’re thrust back into reality. You’re awake, but your eyes aren’t open yet. The state of your restfulness tells you that it’s clearly not time for you to wake-up, but you just have to take a peek at that clock, just to make sure.
It’s 2:00am, or maybe it’s 3:00am, or even 4:00am. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you’re now awake and kicking yourself for overthinking it and looking at that clock. Because, let me tell you my friend, there’s no way you’re going back to sleep now.
Story sound familiar? If so, you may be one of the 60 million Americans that struggle with insomnia each year. So, one could say that you’re far from being in the boat alone on this one. And, those sleepless veterans out there know that it’s one thing to fall asleep and quite another to stay that way for a full night’s rest.
There’s a host of reasons why we struggle to get the proper amount of sleep, but regardless of the reasons, the consequences of a lack of shut-eye make it worth addressing. In the short term, a lack of sleep can raise your blood pressure, change your metabolic rate, make you mentally slower, and exacerbate negative feelings. In the long-term, there’s a link between chronic insomnia and heart disease, depression, anxiety, and a host of other health conditions.
Have we convinced you it’s time to do something about those sleepless nights? If so, read on because we have a few tips to help you fall asleep easier and stay that way for the night!
So, without further ado, here are six tips to help you sleep better!
Stick to a Sleep Routine
We all have a natural circadian rhythm or internal “sleep clock”. When we wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, our body naturally falls into a sleep cycle. Our brain’s produces the hormone, melatonin, signaling us to become drowsy and drift off to la-la land when it’s time to fall asleep.
However, many of us don’t follow a sleep routine. We stay up to watch just one more episode of our favorite Netflix series, or sleep in a few extra hours on the weekend. While it seems innocent enough, you’re really wreaking havoc on your natural cycle when you don’t stick to a routine. So, do yourself a favor- if you can, create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
Create a Sleep Oasis
Maybe you find comfort in falling asleep to the TV or leaving the hall light on? Or, maybe you have a cat or dog, a restless partner, or even an angry tortoise that likes to unintentionally wake you up in the middle of the night? Regardless of what it is, to get a goodnight’s rest you will need to figure out how to either live without or minimize the distractions.
Even if it’s a beloved pet or partner that’s responsible for your fragmented sleep, you can still mitigate the distraction. Try sleeping with your bedroom door closed or problem-solving with your partner if they’re the issue. And, if all else fails or if it’s just your thing, try sleeping with a fan or a white noise machine.
Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Ever notice that when you have a few too many drinks you fall asleep fast, but you don’t stay that way? It’s a real phenomenon!
It’s true that alcohol can help you to fall asleep faster, however, it really hurts sleep quality. Too much alcohol affects sleep rhythms, blocks REM sleep, increases breathing problems and bathroom trips– all of which add up to a cruddy night’s sleep.
Put That Phone Away!
By this point, most of us have heard the jazz about how the blue light of our electronics affects our ability to go to sleep. But, there’s much more to it. Let’s go back to the scenario we opened with. After five minutes or so without being able to go back to sleep, what are you going to reach for? Probably the smart phone that’s sitting next to your bed. That’s a bad choice my friend- it will most certainly seal the deal on your less than restful night’s sleep.
Do yourself a favor, keep that phone outside your bedroom!
Create a Self-Care Routine
There’s little question that high levels of stress can have an impact on our sleep. Stress increases anxiety and creates arousal in our brains, and, thus forth, our body.
So, why not take preventative measures to manage that stress? You could try meditation, setting aside time everyday to do something you enjoy, going for a walk, or whatever else fills your cup and lowers your stress levels.
Getting off the couch or out of that desk chair really does have an impact on your ability to have a goodnight’s sleep. Exercise works by decreasing arousal caused by depressive and anxiety symptoms. But, beyond improving your mental health, the act of exercise heats up your body, which results in a significant temperature drop after the activity, working to promote sleep.
It’s worthy to note, however, that excessive vigorous aerobic activity and weightlifting does not seem to have a positive impact on quality sleep.
Are you looking for more content to guide you on your path to a happy, healthy life? Check out the rest of our blog and don’t forget to follow us on social media. We can be found at youthdynamicsmt on Instagram, or People of Youth Dynamics and Youth Dynamics of Montana on Facebook.