We all toss and turn at night, from time to time. Whether your insomnia is chronic or due to a stressful period in your life, we’re all guilty of poor sleep schedule habits that put our brains and bodies out of whack. The clocks in our body regulate everything from sleep to hormones, and when you confuse that clock with less than ideal bedtime routines, it’s a disaster. Here are the best ways to fix that less than optimal sleep quality so you can feel restored every morning.
1. Keep it regular
Go to sleep at the same time every night, and try to set an alarm for the same time every morning. Soon, your natural clock will start to present itself. Sleeping on an irregular schedule or staying up late every night will just make your sleep schedule more chaotic.
2. Light eating habits before bed
It’s easy for many of us to binge late at night, especially when an addictive Netflix marathon is going on. Instead of greasy snacks and heavy or spicy food, which can wake you up and cause a nasty bout of indigestion, stick to a light snacks, and a meal that fills you up on veggies and nutrients rather than carbs or processed ingredients.
3. Exercise in the morning
For many, it’s a preference to work out in the evening. But doing this can keep your heart-rate elevated and energize you, rather than tiring you out for a restful night of sleep. Your body needs time to get naturally tired, so don’t activate it in the PM! Instead, stick to morning and early afternoon, if possible.
4. Digital detox
Going on our phones and computers too late at night can actually signal to our minds that it’s daytime outside, even if it’s the middle of the night. It even prevents the production of melatonin. That’s why many pros suggest leaving your phone outside the bedroom, or stopping usage an hour before sleeping. Try out white noise or relaxing instrumental music if you’re used to sleeping with the television on. It’ll do wonders for your REM cycle.
5. The bedroom is for sleeping only
We’re all guilty of occasionally texting or scrolling through our feed in bed. It’s just as easy to turn the bed into your home office, call center, or an area that you study. This might feel comfy at the moment, but the stress from those activities will linger when you’re trying to clear your mind and sleep. Keep your bedroom for just sleeping and those anxious, racing thoughts will calm themselves.
6. Don’t nap
When you haven’t gotten enough sleep at night, it can be really tempting to take a power nap and rejuvenate yourself. But then you’re just participating in a vicious cycle. Try to hold off that urge for a midday doze, and you’ll find that your eyes starting to droop later on, which is the beginning of slowly repairing your sleep schedule.
7. Breathing exercises and yoga poses
If you do like a little activity before bed, skip the cardio and choose some stretches instead. There are many passive forms of yoga that let you settle deep into stretches and promote a restful night of sleep. When you open up your breath properly, it can help you relax your muscles and acts as a form of self-massage. Who doesn’t want a pre-bedtime rubdown?
8. Lower the thermostat
If you generally sleep in a warm room or with a very heavy blanket, it could be preventing you from getting those Zzz’s. According to science, 68 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for lulling our bodies to sleep. Being chilly makes you naturally a bit tired because when it gets cooler at night, our bodies receive it as a signal to slow down and fall asleep with ease.
9. Wear earplugs or simulate white noise
Sleeping with silence can actually feel unbearable for some people. But rather than watching noisy TV, you can use a range of natural devices for white noise. Your humidifier, AC, fan, or even an air purifier, can produce a pleasant amount of noise. This also works if you live in a loud urban area that prevents you from falling asleep.
10. With a doctor’s guidance, explore melatonin or CBD
Sleeping pills can feel like a drastic decision, but sleep is naturally promoted by melatonin and CBD. They both can (rarely) have some side effects for users, so we always suggest talking to a physician, but if you’re looking to go the all-natural route, consider these two miracle workers. Just remember to tell your doc about any medications you might be on, which can interfere with melatonin.