Insomnia can strike at various life phases and make you feel as if the night will never end. Avoid the pitfalls of poor sleep which include irritability, fatigue, and a lack of focus, by using the following 5 ways to sleep better and wake happy.
1. Put Yourself to Bed
Set a bedtime for yourself the same way you would for a child. Select a time that gives you 7 to 9 hours before your morning alarm. You may need to set an alarm 15 to 20 minutes prior to bedtime. This way, you’d know when to stop your activities and prepare for sleep.
Aim to stick to your set bedtime every day — even on weekends— to improve your sleep cycle. Set your sleep schedule the same way you would any other appointment. Make sure to keep the appointment with yourself to help you sleep better and wake happy.
2. Use a Bedtime Routine
The use of a relaxing bedtime routine helps ease you gently into a refreshing night’s slumber. In your evening routine, include things that helps slow you down, like meditation, prayer, or a hot bath. You could also drink caffeine-free tea, or have a light snack that contains tryptophan such as eggs, spinach, milk or nuts.
Tryptophan helps your body produce melatonin, which enhances your sleep cycle. A regular evening routine also prepares your body and mind for sleep. If you keep to your routine, your body and mind will learn that these activities precede sleep. It will allow you to drift off quicker and sleep deeper.
3. Adjust the Light
Heed cautions about using blue-screened devices such as computers, phones, televisions, and tablets prior to going to sleep. These can stimulate your mind and keep you awake. Keep the lights turned low in your room and bathroom as you complete your evening routine.
In contrast, add a light box into your morning routine to boost your energy and your mood. A light therapy box should block out UV rays, and should provide indirect light into your eyes. Plan to turn on the light box for 20 to 30 minutes after you wake to boost your happiness. If you exercise at this time, turn on your light box for a greater mood boost.
4. Work It Out
Exercise during the day to help you fall asleep and improve the quality of your sleep. Although it may take trial and error to determine the best time of day to exercise, try to perform your workouts two to three hours before nighttime
Aerobic exercises such as walking, biking and dancing are also beneficial first thing in the morning. They help boost your energy and mood for the day, as well as contribute to your improved sleep that night. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise such as aerobic or strength training each day to help you sleep better and wake happy.
5. Talk Yourself Into Sleep
Your body responds to the things you tell it. After you have performed your workout, turned off electronics, followed your evening routine, ate a light snack,and settled in bed on time, use progressive muscle relaxation to prepare your body for sleep.
Start with your eyes closed gently and tell yourself to relax the muscles in your face. Feel your head supported by your pillow. Settle your breathing into a slow pattern and breathe in and out through your nose if possible and comfortable. Feel your body relax from your shoulders to your fingertips as your arms sink into the bed.
Continue to check in with your body as you command the muscles to relax from your back and chest, through your hips and down into your legs, feet and toes. If your body remains tense, start at the top of your body again and this time, contract and relax each muscle group as you feel the relaxation travel down your body.
These tips could help you feel more in control of your sleep behavior. You choose your bedtime, your wake time and the ways you transition to sleep. Please seek medical advice if you’re struggling with sleeping because of sleep apnea or breathing difficulties. Many of the above solutions could work within a day or two, while others may require more practice. Be patient with yourself and remember, a relaxing sleep makes for a beautiful day.