With the end of daylight savings time, our last best hope for catching up on sleep has passed us by. If you’re still feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, it may be time to evaluate ways to improve the quality of your sleep. Whether you know that you’re having a hard time sleeping or not, try the following 10 things to try to sleep better. You may be delighted with the results.
Prepare Your Body
Exercise: Physical activity can help make your body tired and ready to sleep.
Eat a good meal: You want to make sure your body has a good supply of energy, so you’re not being affected by hunger while you sleep. You also don’t want to be too full, though, so try eating 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Don’t drink or eat caffeine close to bedtime: What close to bedtime means for you depends on how you respond to caffeine.
Reduce alcohol consumption close to bedtime: Alcohol may seem like a good way to help yourself sleep. After all, it makes you feel sleepy, right? But it actually decreases the quality of your sleep. As with caffeine, start moving alcohol consumption further and further before bedtime as long as your sleep quality continues to improve.
Prepare Your Mind
Eliminate stress: Easier said than done, right? But it’s important to being able to sleep that you’re not constantly overwhelmed. Organize your life to improve efficiency and delegate tasks whenever possible.
Keep a consistent bedtime: Our body’s circadian rhythms govern when we sleep and when we wake. If you’re constantly switching around bedtime and the time you wake up, it gets confused, making it harder for you to sleep.
Have a relaxing nightly routine: Set up a regular group of activities that you perform every night before going to bed. This helps tell your mind that it’s time to go to sleep.
Reserve the bed for sleep and sex: Another way to tell your mind that it’s time to go to sleep is to reduce possible associations with your bed. By only using your bed for sleep and sex, your mind gets a pretty good idea about what to expect when you get into bed. This means no reading, watching TV, or laptops and smartphones in bed. Some people recommend going further and leaving all these influences outside your room.
Prepare Your Environment
Reduce light, sound, and heat in the bedroom: Getting a comfortable sleep environment will go a long way toward helping you sleep well. Light gives you the signal that it’s time to be awake, so eliminate it as much as possible with window shades and/or heavy curtains. Keep your room cool at night to the extent possible, since our body associates cooler temperatures with night and sleep. Sometimes people are disturbed by sounds. Try sleeping with earplugs or white noise.
Get a more comfortable mattress and/or pillow: Don’t underestimate physical comfort when it comes to getting better sleep.
What If None of This Works?
What do you do if you try all these things and you find that you’re still not getting good sleep? If you are still waking up feeling unrested, have daytime sleepiness, and just have no energy or enthusiasm during your day, you may have a serious sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea.
If you are concerned about sleep apnea, we can help you get a sleep test and diagnosis from a physician. Please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha for help getting a good night’s sleep.