1. Be Consistent
One of the best ways to enjoy a good night’s rest is to take to your bed at the same time each night. That means every day, including weekends and other days off. It is also important to wake up at the same time each morning. The idea is for this routine to provide you with between 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night.
Your waking and sleeping cycles are governed by an internal clock. These cycles are part of your natural circadian rhythm. Some people are devoted to that ‘party all-night’ lifestyle, but focusing on going to bed and waking at the same time each day will ensure that you enjoy quality rest.
2. Try and Try Again
Falling asleep can sometimes be a mental battle. For this reason, it is extremely important that your mind begins to associate getting into bed with sleep. If you are struggling to fall asleep simply lying in bed makes it much harder to fall asleep – and this can become habit forming.
If you still have not drifted off after 10 or 15 minutes get out of bed and engage in a task that is relaxing and calming. Reading is great, as is listening to relaxing music or even writing. But avoid keeping one eye on the clock this leads to anxiety and can contribute to problems in falling asleep. An idea is to out together a ‘boredom basket’. This can contain books (and your glasses if needed) and other items which will enable you to relax.
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3. Don’t Indulge in Caffeine or Nicotine
You may enjoy the comfort of a cup of coffee or tea prior to going to sleep – or even once you are in bed, however, drinks containing caffeine stimulate the nervous system and will keep you awake. Try and avoid both nicotine and caffeine for at least four to six hours before retiring for the night.
There are a number of decaffeinated options available – and there are a number of herbal teas that can aid sleep – but be aware that even these more preferable options do contain small traces of caffeine. It is better to avoid them entirely and settle for a glass of water prior to bed.
4. No Napping
Your body needs training when it comes to the correct time for sleep. The urge to take a nap can be almost irresistible at times – but they interfere with our ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. If you are going to nap then limit it to a period of under an hour.
That nap will reduce the number of hours your body spends in a deep sleep – it throws off your circadian rhythm. Try and eliminate naps completely.
5. Stick to a Routine
Those who have had to care for a young child will know the results of inadequate sleep. There needs to be a routine, bath, book and bed is the classic example. However, having a set routine as an adult can also aid in getting a good night’s rest. A routine trains the body and mind to recognize the signals that mean it’s time to get into bed and sleep.
When you first start to establish a routine take 30 minutes (or even an hour) to wind down. Avoid overtaxing your mind. A sleep routine is just one of the essential habits that will train the body and mind and ensure a great sleep experience.