By: Justin Hill
Struggling with sleep isn’t a new concept. The main problem is that sleep is like the brain – there is much we don’t fully understand about it. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to get better sleep.
Are you one of the many that struggle to get to sleep, or wake up, not quite feeling rested fully? That’s okay. The following five solutions will help you get a better night's rest.
Before diving into the solutions, let’s jump into a few general things to consider when working on your sleep. Keep in mind that when the time comes for your slumber, you should focus on things that help you relax so when you fall asleep, you stay asleep, and have a better night’s rest.
According to Havard.edu, proper sleep plays a critical role in the following things:
To find out more about this, check out Benefits of Sleep.
Let's jump into the five solutions.
1. Your Bed is For Sleeping
This is something that should be obvious, but many people do so many activities in their bed. They watch TV, they have emotional phone calls, they tap away on their smart phones, checking out the latest news and information.
Your bed should be isolated to one thing – sleep. Another exception is sex. Nothing else should be done in your bed. By only using your bed for those two things, you trigger your brain for sleep when you hit the pillow.
2. A Quiet Room
Make sure your bedroom is as quiet as possible. If needed, get some ear plugs, or something to eliminate noise as much as possible. You could even try something like ocean/rain sounds, or white noise.
In fact, try some classical music. A 2008 study showed that students aged 19 to 28 who listened to relaxing classical music for 40 minutes before bed had significantly better sleep.
3. Darkness is Your Friend – When it Comes to Sleep
Make it as dark as possible. Eliminate and/or cover flashing lights on things such as digital clocks, game systems, and computers. Instead of going into the deep science of why darkness helps with sleep, just think about it logically.
The regular state of things is: rise with the sun, sleep with the night. Your body responds to sunlight, and it triggers your senses to awake. Darkness, on the other hand, triggers melatonin, a hormone secretion that induces sleep.
It's simple – the darker the better, for sleeping soundly that is.
We are bombarded by computer screens, TVs, our smartphones, lights, etc. that trigger our bodies to stay awake. If you want to be able to deal with your sleep struggles, get in the mode of making it as dark as possible before bed.
Engaging night modes on your smart phones should become a usual practice. Install a program like F.lux to help eliminate certain lights that trigger your body to stay awake.
Use small lights or lamps for reading that are dimmed or highly diminished in their brightness.
Bottom line: keep it as dark as possible before you hit the pillow for sleep.
4. Control Your Room Temperature
There’s tons of information out there about this tidbit as well. However, let’s stick with the basics.
Think about those winter mornings when you are bundled up in your warm bed. It feels great. You want to continue to sleep. Having a cool bed and semi-controlled, cool room temperature will make it more likely for you to fall asleep and have quality sleep.
If you jump into a bed that is somewhat cold, reinforced by a cool room (define what constitutes a “cool” room), you’re more likely to fall asleep quicker.
5. Be Careful What You Eat and Drink
Eating and especially drinking less – or not at all – before you sleep should be a given. In fact, a recent study showed that eating less during the night may help fight off sleep deprivation.
Along the same, lines, drinking should be done little to none before bed. A less likely active bladder is a bladder that will not trigger your body to wake because of a late-night pee session.
Err on the side of eating/drinking less to none at all before bed.
And definitely avoid caffeine.
If you are going to eat, however, there are certain foods that can help. A University of Sydney study showed that certain carbohydrates – ones that break down quickly like bread, rice, and potatoes – can help if consumed 3-4 hours before bedtime.
While you may not fully control your living environment conditions, taking them into consideration can greatly enhance your quality of sleep. These five solutions can be implemented right now. They are simple and easy to do. Try them out and let us know your results.
After the Session is an supplemental educational blog dealing with various psychology, counseling, and self-development topics.
To begin with, either scroll through the list on the left, or click into one of the archived months or categories below.