Remember Jane? She has a goal of getting up earlier so she can get more done with her day. After implementing a nightly routine, she’s falling asleep faster, but she’s still not sleeping very well. Let’s look at some steps Jane (and you!) can take to improve the quality of her sleep.
Go to bed earlier
The first thing you can do to increase the chances of actually getting up earlier in the morning is going to bed earlier. While this is easier said than done, setting an alarm can really help. Set an alarm in the evening to remind yourself that it’s time to get ready for bed. Give yourself enough time to close out your day and still be in bed by your ideal time.
Cut the caffeine
Ok, I know some this is sacrilege for some of you, but cutting out caffeine can help you sleep better! At the very least, try not to have caffeine after around 2pm. Also keep in mind, that if you’re just looking for a warm drink, decaf is not completely caffeine free, but it is certainly a better option than the full-leaded version. If your caffeine of choice is soda, see if you can stomach the caffeine free version after lunch. (I don’t know why, but caffeine-free sodas taste really strange for some reason) Alternately, you can try flavored seltzer water for a drink that’s fizzy, flavorful, and that is calorie and caffeine free!
Have a nightly routine
Having a nightly routine helps you fall asleep faster, as it signals to your body that it is time to wind down and start getting into sleep mode. By the time you get to bed, your body is ready!
Darken your room
Our bodies are designed to work with the sun. Screens and artificial lights can really mess with our internal clocks. Making your bedroom as dark as possible can help you get really deep sleep. Cover up any small lights from electronics or even your alarm clock. If you can, use thick curtains on the windows to block out light from the outside. Those blackout curtains in hotel rooms are the reason people always seem to sleep better in hotels.
There’s a reason many animals hibernate through the winter. It’s easy to sleep when it’s cold. Your whole body just slows down. Make sure the thermostat isn’t set to high when you go to bed. If you are hardcore, you can take a cold shower before bed to really kick start the process. This is why (in a roundabout sort of way) hot baths before bed are common in some Eastern cultures. It heats you up, sure, but then as your body cools, you start getting sleepy.
Make it quiet
Another thing that can prevent you from falling asleep is too much noise. Try to minimize noises as best you can, but if you can’t, you can block some of it out with a white noise generator. There are many apps and websites and even household appliances that will create a light amount of background noise that your brain can just ignore, while simultaneously serving to block out background noises that might wake you up. One of my favorites for white noise is Rainy Mood, which lets you set a time limit after which it will turn itself off, so it can help you fall asleep, but not run all night long.
Get a good mattress
Having the right mattress for you can make a world of difference in your sleep, and how you feel the next morning. You’ll have to figure out what works best for you. Personally, I like firmer mattresses. I find I sleep much more soundly and wake up a lot less sore than on softer mattresses. If a new mattress isn’t in the budget for you right now, try rotating your current mattress, so you’re not sleeping in the same indentations that have formed over months and possibly years.
Use a proper pillow
If you can’t get a new mattress, perhaps you can upgrade your pillow. Depending on if you sleep on your back, stomach or side, you’ll have different needs when it comes to the support your pillow provides your head and neck. A good pillow can prevent cricks in your neck and be the difference between waking up refreshed, and waking up achy.
Hopefully these tips will help you sleep as deeply as Sleeping Beauty, and wake up as refreshed as people in those commercials (who looks like that immediately after they wake up, really?)
Out of sheer curiosity, when was the last time you replaced your mattress or pillow?