“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”
~ Thomas Dekker
Going to sleep comes easier to some than others.
We often have stressful things on our mind that keep us up, or we stay up too late and mess up our sleeping cycle.
There are tons of factors that contribute to sleep disorders, some of which we may not even be aware of.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy and happy life.
On average, we are supposed to sleep around 8 hours every night.
Of course for most of us with hectic jobs and children, that seems impossible.
Even if we get ourselves into bed, falling asleep is a whole other battle.
We have to be learn to be disciplined about our sleeping schedule.
Making sure that we are getting enough z’s to keep us active and alert throughout our day.
Here are 6 tips on how to sleep better at night:
1. Keep a regular sleep schedule.
Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time everyday.
Even during the weekend when you tend to stay up a little later, make sure you get those hours back somehow.
Sleeping in is not always the answer either, as it might set off your schedule even more.
Instead, try to take a short nap during the day to gain back some of those lost sleep hours.
If you find yourself getting too tired too early, for most of us this tends to be right after dinner, find a way to stay up until your regular sleep time.
Go do the dishes, call a friend, or go for a walk.
Keeping, and sticking to, a sleep schedule is the most effective way to get a better nights sleep.
2. Don’t shy away from sunlight during the day.
Shutting out the world in a dark room confuses your bodies natural clock.
Spend some time outside during the day, take your lunch break outside, or go for a brisk walk.
If you are not a sun person you can be in the shade!
Keep your curtains open at home and allow sunlight to come into your house during the day.
The more your body is aware of what time of day it is, the better it will be at keeping its schedule.
3. Find the time to exercise.
Not only is exercise good for controlling weight, a stress reliever, and numerous other health benefits, but it also makes you tired!
When you exercise during the day, you fall into a deeper sleep cycle at night.
Ever noticed how after a physically strenuous day, you find yourself sleeping like a baby?
That is what exercise does to your body.
Be careful not to do too much cardio right before sleep, which can reversely keep you up as your endorphins will be running high for a few hours after.
Try to do your cardio in the morning, and stick to things like yoga and weights towards the evening time.
4. Turn off the television and computer.
Most of us tend to put on the TV right before bed to fall asleep to because it relaxes us.
On the contrary, television actually stimulates us in a way that prevents us from sleeping.
It also halts the production of melatonin in our brain which is a natural chemical that gets released when we are tired and want to sleep.
The back light of computer screens and iPads also stops this production.
So while we may think these things are helping us sleep, they are in fact keeping us awake.
Try listening to some calm music or an audio book before sleep if you have a hard time falling asleep in silence.
5. Sleep with the lights off.
Bright lights also reduce the melatonin production in your brain.
Make sure to sleep with all of the lights off to get a better and deeper nights rest.
If you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, don’t turn on the light.
Use a subtle night light or flash light instead.
This will ensure that you will be able to fall back asleep peacefully.
6. Stay away from big meals before bed.
When we eat before bed time, our bodies have a hard time relaxing as they are working on processing the food we just ate.
The heavier the meal, the harder and longer it takes for our stomachs to digest them, keeping us awake.
Highly acidic and spicy food can also cause stomach aches and heartburn, none of which are conducive to a good nights rest.
Try to eat light for dinner, a simple salad with a cut of fish. Some rice or a slice of bread if you need some carbohydrates.
Also try not to eat 2 hours before bed time.
This gives your body enough time to digest, so when it’s time to hit the sack, your body can relax.
7. Cut down on caffeine.
Most of us drink a ton of coffee to get us through our work day.
Some people drink so much, they claim it doesn’t even affect them anymore.
However, caffeine can actually cause sleep problems for up to ten hours after drinking it!
For many, morning coffee is a staple, but try to avoid coffee past lunch time.
Or at least try to cut back on it the later it gets.
8. Make a relaxing bed time ritual.
Create a ritual that relaxes you before bed.
This ritual will be an indicator to your body that it is time to wind down and go to sleep.
You can take a hot bath, listen to some soft music, curl up with a book, light a candle and turn off the lights, do a little stretching.
Make your bed your sanctuary, and sleeping a ritual you deserve after a long day.
That way, when you wake up, you get to greet the morning with a burst of energy and a big smile on your face.
Because you are ready for your day.
“Sleep is the best meditation.”