We’ve all experienced the frustration of a sleepless night. A night spent tossing and turning can seem endless, but it only gets worse when we finally pry ourselves from bed the next morning. Without sufficient sleep, we’re left feeling sluggish, irritable and scatter-brained. We end up spending the day trying to focus, but to no avail. It may seem like an occasional night of poor sleep is simply something we have to learn to live with, but the truth is that there are several tips that can help you avoid sitting up all night, wide awake, and then walking through life half asleep the next day. By making a few changes, you can see a significant change in your ability to get a good night’s rest.
1. Change your Sleeping Environment
A night of restful sleep begins with the right sleeping environment. Follow these tips to get the sleep you need.
* If you’re not comfortable, you won’t sleep well. Start with a mattress that is both comfy and supportive. Ideally, you should change your mattress every 5 years. The following signs may mean you need a new mattress:
- You find it easier to sleep in a bed other than your own.
- Sleeping in your bed causes aches, pains and numbness upon waking.
- There are visible signs of wear and tear, such as lumps or sagging parts of your mattress.
* Pillows can be just as important as your mattress. Typically, pillows should be replaced every year. As with your mattress, your goal is to find a balance between comfort and support.
* If you’re not sleeping alone, make sure that you and your partner both have enough room to move around without waking the other. There are few things as frustrating as waking up all night due to your partner’s tossing and turning.
* Humans are diurnal, which means we are meant to be active during the day and sleeping at night. Therefore, ensuring that your bedroom is dark can have a huge impact on your ability to sleep. If you must sleep during the day, invest in heavy black-out curtains to mimic night time conditions.
* Most people sleep best when it’s quiet. If you’re unable to get away from sharp or loud noises, look for soft background noise options. For example, a fan gently blowing can filter out many harsh background noises.
* Your bedroom should be just for sleep. Avoid keeping your TV and/or computer in your room. These can cause distractions or temptations that make it difficult to sleep. If at all possible, keep your work out of your bedroom as well.
* Many people are surprised to learn just how important the right temperature is. If you’re too hot or too cold, you’ll find it difficult to sleep well. While the temperature of your bedroom is important, it’s even more important to ensure that your bedding leaves you at the right temperature. For example, use cool cotton sheets in the summer, and warm, comforting blankets or a duvet in the winter.
2. Change Your Sleeping Habits
Setting a routine will set your body on a rhythm that will lead to long term successful sleep. Consider these tips to help you begin a pattern – and stick with it.
* Immediately upon getting into bed, get into your most comfortable sleeping position. If you’re not asleep within 15-30 minutes, get out! Do something relaxing and calming and don’t return to bed until you’re ready to sleep.
* Food, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine should all be avoided close to bed time.
* Your sleep schedule should be a priority. Set up a consistent bedtime and follow it even on the weekends. If you have different sleep schedules on different days, your body will be forced to constantly reset its sleep rhythm and you’ll be much less likely to get a full night’s sleep.
* Begin a night time routine that is relaxing. Stay away from activities that stimulate your mind, such as watching TV or getting that last bit of work done. A better option is to take in some light reading, listen to calming music or get into the habit of practicing relaxation techniques.
* Regular exercise makes it much easier to sleep. However, avoid exercising right before bed.
* If you’re interested in trying a sleep aid supplement, look for options that promote relaxation but don’t cause you to feel groggy in the morning. Some good examples are supplements that contain chamomile, valerian root or 5-Hydroxytryptophan.
* Daytime naps may leave you feeling refreshed initially, but they can make it much more difficult to sleep at night. If you must nap, keep them to 30 minutes or under and avoid deep, extended sleep.
* Don’t try to sleep unless you are actually tired.
3. Further Assistance
Most people will find relief from their sleep problems by following the advice above. However, if you still can’t find your sleep solution, it may be time to talk to your doctor. You may also find it useful to contact organizations like the National Sleep Foundation and/or The Better Sleep Council.
Alan Riley is an avid sailor and the publisher of the site www.beautifulbeddingsets.com. This site is dedicated to helping people find the right bedding for their needs. Something as simple as purchasing a foam mattress pad for extra comfort, or a Pinzon Pyrenees white goose down comforter for extra warmth has made all the difference for many of his site visitors. Alan lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia.