Everyone deals with a bout of insomnia at some point in their life. However, if you are regularly struggling to get a good nights sleep, it can be damaging to your emotional and physical health. Besides putting you in a bad mood and making you tired, lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. There are many causes of restlessness including health, lifestyle choices, poor bed sizes, and bed frames. Studies show that people who get a restful sleep and rise early typically weigh less, have self-control, better relationships, and an overall better mood. Here are 7 tips that will help you get a better night’s sleep and live a happier life.
- Plan Ahead
Planning a day ahead will help prevent you from running late in the morning and feeling stress. Set the coffee pot timer, make lunches the night before, and lay out your clothes for the next day.
- Increase Your Exposure To Bright Lights
We all have a circadian clock that affects the hormones, brain, and body and signals when to be asleep and awake. Research shows that just two hours of early morning sunlight will set the circadian clock correctly and help you fall asleep at a decent hour. If you work in an office all day, try to go for a short walk during your lunch break or before work. If it’s impossible for you to get regular sunlight exposure, purchase artificial bright light bulbs.
- Find The Right Mattress
The wrong mattress can wreak havoc on your quality of sleep. Today, when it comes to mattresses, the options are endless. The memory foam mattress provides uninterrupted sleep when sharing the bed with a partner. Most mattress companies have eco-friendly products containing mattresses made from organic materials and zero chemicals. Memory foam makes for the best mattresses for side sleepers providing pressure relief, a balance of comfort, adjustable layers, and is one of the best mattresses for back pain. It’s always easy to find a memory foam mattress sale near you.
- Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
Limit or eliminate your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that negatively affects your internal circadian clock, digestive, circulatory, and excretory systems. Too much caffeine causes uncomfortable side effects such as frequent urination, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, nervousness, heart palpitations, and an elevated heart rate. It’s important to limit or avoid caffeine from soda, coffee, energy drinks, tea, and chocolate after 2 p.m. If you must have your after-dinner cup of coffee, switch to decaf. Even though alcohol is a depressant, it plays a big factor in your quality of sleep. Like caffeine, it interrupts your circadian clock and blocks REM sleep resulting in grogginess when you wake up. Alcohol is known to relax the throat muscles making you prone to sleep apnea and snoring.
- Exercise Regularly
There’s scientific evidence that regular exercise lowers cortisol levels and boosts your mood, decreases stress and anxiety, supports cardiac health, and helps you sleep better throughout the night. When you’re physically active, you become more tired by the end of the day making it easier to fall asleep. You only need 5 minutes of exercise to stimulate anti-anxiety responses. Yoga, in particular, quiets the nervous system and relaxes the mind, body, and soul. Many physicians and holistic therapists recommend yoga as a treatment for sleep disorders including insomnia.
- Limit Bedtime Activities
It’s easy for us to bring work to bed and sit on our laptops for hours on end. The bed is reserved only for making love and sleeping. Insomniacs must refrain from extra-curricular activities in the bedroom such as watching television, talking on the phone, studying, working, or listening to the radio. Try to handle all of your business at least 30-60 minutes before you plan on hitting the pillow.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to help improve your mental health. It’s a form of psychotherapy that monitors the way you perceive situations and how you react to them. Instead of treating your insomnia like a sleeping pill would, cognitive behavioral therapy gets to the root of why you can’t sleep. CBT can help correct the thoughts that are likely causing your restlessness.
Most people quickly turn to sleeping pills when they’re suffering from long-term sleeplessness. However, they come with adverse side effects including strange dreams, drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth. If you’ve tried some of these options and nothing seems to work, it’s important to talk with your physician. You might find that recording your sleep patterns in a sleep diary helpful.