Sleep seems like it should be a really simple subject. In reality, it’s quite complicated. Everyone approaches sleep in a different way, and everyone needs different tricks to sleep well. But still, most people aren’t really getting the type of restful sleep that they really need. If you are routinely waking up tired and feeling like you just went to press snooze on the alarm clock, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are a few secrets out there to help you get the best sleep of your life.
Recognize the importance of sleep
The first step that you need to take in order to get better and more restful sleep is to truly realize just how important it is. Sleep plays a major role in both your mental health and physical health. If you neglect sleep and don’t leave enough time in your day for it, both are going to suffer. Treat sleep like the important part of your schedule that it deserves to be. Make time for it. Put all else aside when bedtime comes around. That Youtube video can wait until tomorrow!
Address what’s making you anxious
Tons of sleep experts agree that people who have trouble falling asleep generally are dealing with anxious thoughts as they lay in bed. You may not even realize it, but there are probably things that are stressing you out that are making it reality hard to sleep. Are you putting off starting that presentation for work? Do you need to have a hard conversation with someone? These are the types of things that keep us up at night. Deal with your stressors and you’ll find that sleep comes much more easily than before.
Clear your mind
Thoughts racing through your head? Unable to stop thinking about all that happened in your day? You’re not alone. That’s an issue that most of us face when we climb into bed. The trick here is to clear your mind so that those thoughts can quiet down and let you get some rest. But that isn’t really as easy as it sounds. If you aren’t able to calm your mind down on your own, consider keeping a journal by your bedside to jot your thoughts into before you go to sleep. It can help a lot.
Do something boring before bed
Yes, we are really telling you to carve out a part of your day for something that specifically bores you. It sounds weird, but think about it for a second. If you watch the most exciting movie you’ve ever seen right before bed, you’re not going to be able to stop thinking about it. But if you listen to a podcast about the economy or read a book about literary theory, those yawns will start coming. Unless you’re an economist or a literary theorist. In that case, watch the Avengers or something. That ought to bore you.
Pay attention to physiological factors
Sometimes there are things that lower the quality of our rest while we are actually asleep. If you grind your teeth, you are going to wake up with a sore jaw and a need for a nap. The same goes for other various issues like a stuffed nose. Simple problems like that can make your sleep completely restless. Pay attention to how you feel right when you wake up. There might just be a few indicators of problems that need addressing.
Make small changes
Sleep can seem like this huge, insurmountable issue at times. You’re asleep while it’s happening, so how can you possibly know what it is that you need to fix?! With that in mind, it’s sometimes a good idea to try a few small changes every few nights to see if they really make a difference. For instance, try to stay extra hydrated one day. If you wake up feeling great, you may have found your issue! If you feel the same, try a different solution the next day. You’re bound to make progress through trial and error.
Most people that struggle with getting good sleep are the kinds of people that go to bed at 8 PM one night and 2 AM the next. We get that it can sometimes be fun to stay up late and party on the weekends, but keep in mind that staying consistent is the best thing you can do when it comes to sleep. If you get your body and mind into a sleep schedule, you will naturally start to wind down when bedtime comes around. If you always go to sleep at a different time, your body will never be ready for it.
Sound is important
One of the solutions that many people use to calm themselves down before bed is to listen to certain sounds. You would think that perfect silence would be the best thing for anyone trying to fall asleep, but most people feel on edge when it’s completely silent. What’s best is to have a soft, non-changing noise playing in the room. Maybe that’s a white noise machine. Maybe that’s just a fan off in the corner. Whatever it is, try to find the noise that puts you most at ease and let it play as you fall asleep.
No more screens before bed
We live in a society that is based around technology. That’s really great in a lot of ways, but humans haven’t exactly evolved with iPads in mind. We’re not used to the type of light that computer screens give off, and it messes with certain bodily functions. Most sleep experts recommend that you should try to avoid looking at screens for about an hour or so before you try to sleep, as the blue light can make you feel more awake. Opt for a book instead of Instagram as you’re laying in bed next time.
Try the military method
If you’re still struggling to fall asleep, you can always test out a tried-and-true method that has been used by the United States Navy for quite some time. It will take you a bit of time to adjust to, but it essentially goes like this. Start by relaxing your face, then slowly work your way down your body, relaxing each section as you go. Then think of something that relaxes you for about ten seconds. This apparently works quite well for military officers!