Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

People spend about a third of their lives sleeping. This nocturnal process is critical in the maintenance of our minds and bodies. Naturally, when something interferes with it, you can feel worn out, tired, and even start developing cognitive problems. If you find you aren’t sleeping well or for as long, try adding a few of these tips to your nightly bedtime ritual.

Create and Stick To a Schedule
Pick a set bedtime and wake up time every day and keep to that schedule. Your body instinctively wants to settle into a circadian rhythm, despite the distractions of our modern world. Help yourself in developing that sleep cycle. It will be difficult to stick to your new schedule at first, especially if you’ve been dealing with long-term insomnia. Do the best you can to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up with your alarm clock daily. The Mayo Clinic also recommends fighting the urge to take daytime naps that are longer than 30 minutes. An exception to this will be if you are trying to change your schedule for a 2nd or 3rd shift job.

Turn Off All Distractions
About an hour before your bedtime, turn off the television and computer. The light emitted from these devices can make your brain think it’s daytime. Get ready for bed, arrange all of your clothes and lunch for the next day, write a to-do list, and use this time to relax. Reading a hardback or paperback book before bed can also be calming.

Sleep In the Dark
A nightlight may be tempting for those who tend to get up frequently during the night, but even this additional light source may be stimulating your brain. Artificial light can suppress the production of melatonin and may make you wake up during the night more often.
If you absolutely must have a nightlight, the National Sleep Foundation suggests using red or pink light bulbs. Red light wavelengths have less of an impact on your natural sleep cycle.

Don’t Overeat Or Drink
Try to avoid eating or drinking a lot just before bedtime. Indigestion and heartburn can keep you awake, as can extra trips to the bathroom to urinate. Certain chemicals, like caffeine, can also keep you from falling asleep for hours. On the other hand, you don’t want to go to bed hungry, as an empty stomach makes it hard to fall asleep and low blood sugar can cause you to wake up again.
Unless you suffer from acid reflux, you can probably eat a small snack at least an hour before bed to keep hunger pangs at bay.

It may seem like getting to sleep is a complicated process, but the key is really to simplify things. Remove distractions, cool the room, sleep in the dark, and stick to a set schedule for the best results.