So, you’re struggling with sleep, eh? That’s not unusual given that 35.2 percent of adults routinely struggle with sleep at night. Estimates show that
- Many adults only get less than 7 hours of sleep.
- Some people are completely reliant on sleeping pills to get some shuteye every once in a while.
- A small percentage of adults absolutely need those pills to get any sleep at night.
The average adult requires 7 to 9 hours of rest every night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, chances are that your lifestyle choices and poor sleeping habits are the real reason.
So, barring all other causes of sleeplessness like a snoring partner, sleep apnea, work, a crying or sick child, or a noisy neighbor, how can you start getting enough sleep without necessarily relying on medications or other sleeping aids?
Create a Sleep Routine that Works
As with all important habits, you need to train your brain to fall asleep at specific times. If you currently lack a set time for sleep, you need to make one today.
Set a specific time that you’ll be in bed and when to wake up –for example, 9:30pm to 5:30 am. Then just stick to the routine. After a while, your brain will associate those hours with sleep, and you’ll find yourself falling asleep at these times.
Start Exercising More
It’s interesting but, exercise really does help everything in your life. There’s a reason people who exercise tend to get better sleep: serotonins, dopamine and endorphins are linked to increased or optimal production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Start working out more during the day –avoid night workouts, particularly aerobics as that can keep you awake. If you can only workout at night, lift weights until you’re fatigued.
Cut Out Stimulants
Most people need some sort of stimulant to get through the day –usually because they didn’t sleep well the previous night. So, you might want to start with cutting out stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
These substances interfere with your sleep. If you must take caffeine for instance, make sure to take the last sip by 2pm. This is because caffeine has a half-life of 3-5 hours depending on your metabolism. This way, most of the caffeine would be out of your system by 9pm.
Change Your Mattress and Bed Sheets
Your mattress and bed sheets can affect your sleep quality. An overly soft bed can make you sore in the morning and cause frequent interruptions as you try to find a comfortable position.
An excessively hard bed too can cause body pains. So you need to find the right bed for your sleeping comfort –try out mattresses at mattress stores.
Also make sure your bed sheets don’t store heat at night. The body temperature drops by 1-2 degrees at night. If they do, the heat can make you uncomfortable at night. Get high quality bed sheets that can dissipate heat and keep you cool at night.
Turn Off All Lights in the Bedroom
Yes, the lights from your phones and screens can affect your sleep. Phone, TV, tablet, and laptop screens emit a light wavelength that’s commonly known as blue light.
This light is known to interact with your retina, keeping it engaged and preventing sleep. This is why you’re not sleepy even when you’re tired. Get rid of your phones and any light source in the bedroom when you want to sleep.
These tips will help you sleep better and wake up more refreshed.