Many of us fall asleep easily enough but find it hard to stay in that state of rest for the requisite 6 to 8 hours. There are several reasons that might induce this lack of complete rest. It could be due to temporary or chronic anxiety, or an illness or a reaction to some new medication. Sometimes, it is just a state of incomplete relaxation caused by restlessness or excitement. The following 10 easy ways to sleep better will help you overcome these difficulties. If you suspect a new medicine is the cause however, then do consult your doctor immediately.
1. Stay exposed to natural sunlight during the day
Absorbing the goodness of natural sunlight during the day gives the body required daytime nutrition like Vitamin-D and winds the body clock letting it recognize day from night. It also keeps fatigue away during the day, which will enable a good night’s rest. This is one of the easy ways to sleep better.
2. Avoid artificial light before sleep
At least two hours prior to going to bed, switch off the TV, computer, cell phone, and any other electronic appliance you might use for work or entertainment. The light emitted by these appliances creates a state of excitement in the body that makes it hard for it to wind down and relax during the time allotted for sleep. Take a walk in the cool evening air or read a newspaper or a book. This will signal your body that it is the end of the day and time to wind down.
3. Avoid caffeine before bedtime
While eating a dessert after dinner feels great, avoid chocolaty desserts that contain caffeine. Do not drink coffee or tea before bed or even later in the evening. Limit consumption of caffeinated beverages to the daytime and avoid any such drinks and food in the evening in order to help your body relax and get adequate rest.
If it isn’t practical to proof the entire room from annoying noises, use good headphones that don’t hurt your ears or the head and play a soothing track. This will help you gently slide into the state and help your body rest for the requisite number of hours.
5. Relax your mind and body
Learn some breathing exercises and pay attention to the inhalation and exhalation while performing them before bed. This will tune out anxious thoughts and provide your body with required oxygen to help the muscles relax. It will also enable you to focus on happy thoughts that let you rest rather than toss and turn all night. Once you lie down on the bed, try to consciously relax groups of muscles by squeezing and releasing them alternatively.
6. Take a lukewarm shower
Take a quick shower. When this works, it works perfectly. But for some people, water awakes the body and a shower may be the antidote to sleep. Try it and see if it works for you. Do not take a long bath or a hot shower. Shower quickly but quietly for 4 to 5 minutes and change into your nightwear. Immediately go to bed.
7. Recap your day focusing on the happy parts
Either write a journal or mentally recap your day gently gliding over the negatively impacting parts of the day and focusing on your successes and little triumphs. Think happy thoughts and lie down. Happy thoughts have the effect of releasing muscular tension in bed whereas negative thoughts cling to you and make you toss and turn all night.
8. Meditate before sleep
Meditation is a time-tested method for complete relaxation. There are several forms of mediation. The form that is quite easy and helpful with sleep problems is when you close your eyes, tune out everything except a happy or a kind thought and spend some time developing the thought. Wait to naturally come out of the thought and see how your body is already relaxed. This will help your body rest while you sleep and freshen up your day tomorrow.
9. Keep your room cool
A warm room or an extra cold room might cause sleeplessness. Keep your room comfortable at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a blanket that keeps you just warm. A thick blanket or a very thin one also affects the quality of sleep. If your partner prefers a different setting, have a pedestal fan at the ready.
10. Take a power nap
Take a nap mid afternoon for about 20 minutes. This is just enough to relax you and not carry you to the higher realms of sleep that will have you too rested or excited before bedtime. A short 20 minute nap will just relax you enough to easily wind down at the end of the day where as a longer sleep will reset your body clock and push you into a cycle of sleepless nights and groggy days.
Apart from the above-mentioned techniques and easy ways to sleep better, you can also try some remedies like chamomile tea, chewing magnesium rich snacks like pumpkin seeds (which is great for regulating thyroid hormones too) or a warm cup of milk to help with good sleep. Giving your children and pets space and getting them used to their own bedtime routine and individual bedding will help everyone in the long run. Also, having some comfort food or drinks that do not have caffeine will help you doze off easily and remain in that state until your body completely rejuvenates.