1. Create a strict sleep schedule
Make a pact with yourself to go to bed, and wake up at the same time every day. Be sure to stick to the routine, even on weekends and holidays. Sticking to a consistent schedule will make it easier to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
2. Exercise in the morning but not towards bedtime
At least 30-minutes’ worth of physical exercise is enough for physical fitness and helps improve your sleep patterns at night. You, however, should avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as doing so will trigger increased alertness (which you don’t need at that time).
3. Avoid or limit caffeine intake
Caffeinated drinks, coffee, tea, and cigarettes contain stimulants (caffeine and nicotine) known to prevent sufficient REM sleep. It takes at least 6 hours of caffeine to be flushed out of the body, while nicotine causes light-headedness. Limiting your intake of or avoiding these can help improve your sleep patterns.
4. Don’t drink before bed
Alcohol has many adverse effects on your sleep. First, it makes it almost impossible to get REM sleep, and secondly, it forces you to wake up repeatedly at night. Studies also show alcohol impairs breathing and leads to dehydration. Quitting the bottle might do the trick.
5. Snack lightly before going to bed
Never go to bed on a full or empty stomach. Avoid heavy meals just before bed, and only have light snacks if you have to. This reduces the risk of indigestion while promoting sleep.
6. Avoid medications that may disrupt sleep
Some prescription drugs for asthma, blood pressure, and heart contain properties that may affect sleep patterns. Consider asking your doctor or pharmacist to change your prescription, especially if it affects your ability to sleep.
7. Avoid Evening Naps
While naps may be re-energizing, taking a late nap can rob you of your much-needed sleep. Evening naps also tend to disrupt your circadian rhythm, hence not recommended.
8. Unwind before hitting the blankets
Come up with a routine to help the body and mind tone down and relax before bed. Engaging in relaxing activities (listening to music, reading a novel/book, yoga, etc.) can prove fruitful in promoting sleep.
9. Take a warm shower
Taking a hot shower just before bed time is an excellent way to help muscles relax. The slight increase in body temperature, then a decline in the same, almost always makes most people sleepy. Make it a routine of having a warm bath or shower before going to bed.
10. Create a sleep-friendly bedroom environment
The bedroom should be your go-to place when looking to unwind, relax, and sleep. It thus shouldn’t double up as an entertainment room. This means no TVs, phones, or computers in the bedroom. Create a serene environment by investing in blackout curtains, a white noise machine (if in a noisy neighborhood), a comfortable bed, and set room temperature 5 degrees lower for better sleep. Use these Black Friday mattress coupons to invest in a new mattress.
11. Bathe in the morning sunshine
Make a habit of basking in the morning natural light first thing after waking up. The morning sunlight helps reset your internal clock, triggering increased alertness. It also helps promote sleep at night too.
12. Avoid clock-watching when in bed
If unable to fall asleep 20 minutes after hitting the blankets, get out of the room and try engaging in relaxing activities. Try to read a book, listen to music, or have a warm shower (if you haven’t) to set the mood for sleep. Some warm milk might help you feel sleepy too. Only go back to bed when sleepy.