The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 40 million Americans sleep six or fewer hours a day. That alone can negatively affect the immune system, lead to low energy levels, overweight, and diseases.
While there are certainly some sleep disorders that require medical attention, there are also lots of things you can do to better your sleep to feel more relaxed and awake in the morning.
Create a plan for the next day
When we go to bed at night and all the external stimuli our brain usually has to deal with during the day are reduced to a minimum, our minds start working on “digesting” everything that happened during the day and start making plans for tomorrow.
Before you go to bed, make sure you already got your to-do list written down for the next day. It doesn’t matter if it is work related, errands you have to run, or a meeting with a friend. Write it all down, so your brain doesn’t have to worry about it. That will take away a lot of the mind racing that keeps you up at night.
Have a pen and paper next to your bed
When your mind and body start to relax, that’s usually when all the great ideas start flowing in. You might wake up in the middle of the night because you finally figured out how to solve a problem you’ve been having at work for the past couple of weeks, or you found the perfect ending for the book you are writing, or maybe you found a way to delegate all the extra work your boss dumped on you. Whatever it is that comes to mind is usually very precious and we want to make sure we still remember it when we wake up the next morning. As a result, we’re tossing and turning because our mind just can’t find peace.
An easy solution is to keep pen and paper handy at night. Whenever you wake up with an awesome idea, simply write it down. That way it’s out of your mind and on paper and you can go back to bed without the fear of losing any of the awesomeness you just thought of.
Tip: Don’t use your cell phone to make notes. The light of the screen will distract you even more and you might end up checking your Facebook newsfeed instead of turning around and going back to sleep.
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
This one is kind of obvious but I thought I’ll put it out there anyway. The gods invented caffeine to help us wake up in the morning but guess what, if you drink it at night, the effect will be the same. So while coffee is ok to be consumed in the morning, stay away from it in the afternoon and see how it affects the quality of your sleep.
When it comes to alcohol, don’t overdo it. While it makes us sleepy in the beginning, it overall usually leads to more restless sleep. So beware!
Meditation is AWESOME!! Try it! When you meditate in the evening before you go to bed, you clear your mind, are more relaxed, and you’ll sleep like a baby….well, one of those babies that actually sleep through the night and don’t wake up every 5 minutes because they are hungry, pooped their pants, or just got bored. Now that I think about it, who came up with that saying anyway? Which baby sleeps “like a baby”? Anyways, let’s move on to point 5.
Don’t watch TV before you go to bed
Watching too much TV isn’t good, we already know that. But especially at night, it can lead to difficulties falling asleep and – depending on what you were watching – the weirdest dreams. Try reading a good book instead, having a nice conversation with your spouse, or meditate instead.
Here is something that most of you may not know. While working out and staying fit is important to stay healthy, too much exercise can lead to overtraining. A good indicator that you’ve been overdoing it for a while is when you start having trouble falling asleep. So if you recently started a workout routine or changed it up and just now experience problems when it comes to your sleep, evaluate your workout schedule and make sure you’re giving your body the rest it needs to recover.
Don’t eat too late
Avoid eating too late and too heavy at night. When your digestive system is still working hard when you go to bed, you won’t get the sleep you need.
Milk and honey
My grandma used to make us a big glass of warm milk with honey before we went to bed. I don’t know the science behind it but it never failed to put us asleep. Well, maybe she put something else in that milk too, who knows….just kidding (hopefully).
Don’t work out at night
If you go to bed let’s say at 10pm, make sure you start preparing your body for the night at least two hours before. With “preparing” I mean no workouts, nothing that will get you all pumped up and excited. Physical exercise is stress for the body and raises its cortisol levels. Give your body time to calm down and relax.
A good way to prepare yourself for a good night sleep is to dim the lights. Also, try to eliminate all bright lights like alarm clocks etc. from your bedroom.
Do you have any tips or house remedies to improve sleep? Let me know in the comments below!
Written by: Jen
The Online Personal Trainer for Women