It seems like everyone has more stress lately. This can make it hard to fall asleep at night. One thing that helps is creating healthy sleep habits. What habits are important for sleeping great again?
1. Change How You Look at Sleep
Could one reason you’re not sleeping enough be because you feel like you have more important things to finish first? In that case, it’s good to remember that sleep isn’t “wasted time.”
A great night’s sleep helps you concentrate better the next day, makes you more productive at work and increases your overall happiness. It also strengthens your immune system and gives your body time to heal itself naturally.
2. Create a Relaxing Bedroom for Sleep
If you decorate right, being in your bedroom should automatically make you feel like snoozing (or having sex). What’s the secret?
- High-quality sheets: Cool, soft, breathable sheets feel great on your skin all night long.
- Great mattress and pillow: Trust me, you’ll never regret buying the most comfortable mattress you can afford. Make sure your pillow gives your neck enough support, too.
- The right temperature: Everyone is different, but a cool-not-cold bedroom (around 65 degrees) tends to help people fall asleep more quickly.
- Relaxing scents: Use candles or diffusers to give your bedroom a gentle aroma you enjoy. I love lavender, but some people prefer vanilla or cinnamon.
- Fresh feel: Give your room a spacious feel by letting in natural light during the day and keeping clutter to a minimum.
3. Choose a Bedtime
The first step in creating a positive sleep routine is setting a target bedtime. It helps your body get into a flow so you feel sleepy when you’re ready for bed. This is called the circadian rhythm. Aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night.
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4. Keep Afternoon Naps Short and Sweet
A nap in the afternoon can be great for your mental focus and energy levels. Just avoid sleeping too late or too long. After lunch is the perfect time for a 15- or 20-minute snooze.
5. Enjoy Your Morning Joe in the Morning
I love coffee, so I would never tell you to stop drinking it. That said, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, it’s best to enjoy java in the morning only, or maybe right after lunch if you want to stretch it.
6. Exercise Outdoors
Scientists aren’t sure why exercise helps sleep, but it does. Maybe working out makes you feel less stressed, which is amazing for sleeping soundly. Another possibility is that tired muscles signal your brain to sleep and regenerate.
A healthy dose of sunlight during the day helps your body get the hint when it’s dark outside. Going for a walk, bike ride or jog outside is one of the best ways to sleep better at night.
7. Make Relaxing Your Goal, Not Falling Asleep
For some people who have insomnia, stressing about falling asleep actually makes it harder to become drowsy. Instead, your goal should be to relax. Let sleep come naturally with these activities:
- Listen to soft music
- Read a book or do a crossword puzzle
- Write in a journal
- Take a warm bath
- Talk on the phone to a loved one
- Eat a light, healthy snack
- Sip tea (valerian, lemon balm and lavender are my favorites)
Setting aside time for a healthy sleep routine is one of the smartest investments you can make. It helps you feel less stressed during the day, too!