3 Ways to Ensure Better Sleep
Sleep is foundational to good health. It helps you sustain energy throughout the day, reduces the likelihood of disease, and even helps you maintain a healthy weight.
You might be struggling to sleep well because of the stress you encounter at your job, or maybe you have family responsibilities that weigh on you. No matter the reason, factors within your control can help set you up for better sleep.
1. Set a Consistent Wake-Up Time
Often too much attention is given to the importance of going to bed at the same time every night, but this advice is unhelpful if the time you wake up in the morning varies dramatically. You should strive to wake up at the same time every day because it helps regulate your daily sleep-wake cycle and ensure you get adequate rest (between 7 and 8 hours for most adults). You can’t expect to feel tired enough to go to bed at night in the absence of a daily routine. Even during the weekend, try not to deviate more than one hour from your weeknight routine.
2. Be Mindful of What You Eat and Drink
Avoid going to bed on a stomach that is overly stuffed or empty. Avoid large meals within a couple of hours of going to bed; otherwise, discomfort might affect your sleep quality.
Everyone knows that alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine have a substantial impact on physical health, but these substances might also be the reason why you’re not sleeping well at night. Caffeine and nicotine both stimulate the central nervous system and help you feel more awake; for this reason, most people know to avoid them when it’s getting close to bedtime (after 6 p.m.). On the other hand, people often turn to alcohol in the evening to help them relax, but as alcohol metabolizes in the bloodstream, it too disrupts sleep.
3. Allow Time to Unwind
Don’t wait until bedtime to take action on what’s worrying you. Learning to be proactive about managing worry during the day is important to easing nighttime anxiety. This can be as simple as putting some of your concerns into writing using a journal or getting organized and delegating tasks.
Effective stress management during the day gives you the space you need to unwind and relax at night. Taking a bath or using relaxation techniques may help you settle into bed more easily. Meditation is useful for stress management and relaxation.
Almost everyone has a sleepless night on occasion, but if they occur with more frequency than you desire, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider. This is especially true if you have tried everything on this list to no avail. A doctor can help you identify and address the underlying causes of your sleeplessness and improve your sleep quality.