Studies show that four out of five people suffer from disturbed sleep and insomnia. Sadly, sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness are not always caused by sleep disorders but poor sleeping habits. A healthy sleeping routine is the best way to maximize hours spent sleeping and sticking to one guarantee a restful slumber night after night. If you’re having trouble sleeping and you need all the help you can get, here are proven ways to ensure a good night’s sleep:
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Develop a Sleep Schedule and Stick with It
You can train your body to sleep and wake up at certain hours of the day and night. Sticking to the same bedtime every night and getting up at the same time every morning – even on weekends – encourages the body to stick to a sleep schedule. By staying in sync with your regular sleeping pattern, you’ll never sleep through your alarm or wake up in the dead of the night ever again.
Regular Work Out
Yes, working out is one way to prep the body for a deep sleep at night! Cardio workout, in particular, helps improve the quality and length of your sleep. In fact, working out for as little as 30 minutes daily helps the brain release sleep-inducing melatonin so you’ll have no problem getting drowsy at night. Of course, timing is everything. Never workout too closely to bedtime to give your body’s enough time to recover from the surge of adrenaline from exercising. We recommend working out 4 hours before bedtime (at the latest).
Avoid Stimulants at all Cost
All kinds of stimulants – cigarettes, caffeine, tea, cola, and coffee – must be avoided 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine can stay in the system for 8 hours so never drink coffee after dinner. Drinking caffeinated beverages increases the likelihood of wakefulness at night as well as disturbed sleep.
Image used under Creative Commons from Clare Black
Keep it Cool
Studies show that sleeping in a room with temperature ranging between 65° and 75°F will help you sleep better. A cool room is perfect for sleeping because the temperature inhibits sweating, which can cause wakefulness at certain times during the night. Slipping between cool sheets causes the body temp to drop and this shift signals the brain to increase melatonin production. Taking a hot or cold shower an hour before bed is one way to cool the body down especially on a particularly hot and humid night.
It also helps if you use stay-cool pillows during the summer season. These pillows are infused with cooling gel to reduce heat buildup and prevent hot spots and sweating. Here are some of the best stay-cool pillows we recommend.
Mind Your Pillow Quality
How you sleep at night as well as the quality and thickness of your pillow can affect your sleep. The wrong pillow could strain the spine, causing soreness and muscle tightening – this can lead to sleep problems. To avoid muscle tension and promote proper spine alignment, use a high-quality pillow made specifically for certain sleeping position. For instance, if you sleep on your stomach, use a medium sized pillow with average thickness and avoid thick, densely packed pillows. Here are great pillows for people who sleep on their stomachs.
On the other hand, if you sleep on your side, you need thinner pillows that offer excellent support to the neck and back. We’ve reviewed some of the best pillows for those who sleep on the sides, click here for more details. Some pillows are also designed to reduce shoulder and neck pain so if you are prone to muscle strain during sleep, we highly recommend investing on these orthopedic pillows.
Improve Your Sleeping Environment
Your bedroom must be conducive to sleep to prevent sleep deprivation. Keep your room dark and cool at night to induce sleep. Mobile phones, laptops, computers, TV, and video games should be off limits a couple of hours before bedtime to promote total relaxation. If you live in a noisy neighborhood or your home is close to the streets, use noise-cancelling earplugs to block out noise or a noise machine to drown annoying traffic sounds.
Invest in High-Quality Mattresses and Pillows
Comfort is a must if you’re trying to sleep. A worn, aged or lumpy mattress will only make sleeping a struggle so if the budget allows, invest in high-quality mattress and pillows to get a full night’s sleep! That said, you can breathe life back to old mattresses by using a mattress pad or topper. A mattress pad offers soft yet firm support to the spine, using one is like sleeping on a new mattress! Best of all, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new mattress.
Another alternative to a spring mattress is an air mattress, it’s light, it offers excellent support and the firmness is adjustable. Here are great air mattresses to check out in case you’re on the hunt for one.
Avoid Afternoon Naps
It’s tempting to sneak some shuteye in the afternoons but if you have difficulty sleeping at night, taking naps isn’t a great idea at all. This goes especially for late-day naps. Naps decrease sleep drive, causing delayed drowsiness at night. If you must take a nap, make it short and never sleep beyond 5 PM.