Many people suffer from a poor night's sleep due to any one of a number of factors. Issues such as insomnia, chronic pain, stress and some diseases can all steal sleep at night and leave you feeling lethargic and grumpy during the day.
While many things can be the cause of your tossing and turning at night, you can give yourself the best chance at getting the proper rest you need by developing healthy sleeping habits and then following your routine every night. Your body will adapt to the rituals you go through to prepare for sleep and begin to expect sleep when you fall into your nightly habits.
In order to give yourself the best chance at getting the proper rest at night you'll need to make some simple changes to your routine. The following list contains steps that are easy to take and should help you feel rested and refreshed throughout the day.
- Get plenty of exercise - Exercise is great for the body and the mind. Out of all the benefits regular exercise can offer, one of the most important is helping you get a good night's sleep. But many people mistakenly exercise too close to bedtime. Exercise stimulates your muscles and gets your blood pumping, and this can make it hard to fall asleep. If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try exercising earlier in the day to see if it helps.
- Get into a pre-sleep groove. Establishing a routine before you turn in at night will signal to your body that bedtime is coming. Your body will begin to expect and look forward to rest when it gets used to the routine. Reading, taking a warm bath, doing deep breathing or relaxation exercises, or having a relaxing cup of tea all send signals to your body and brain that it's time to begin winding down and preparing for sleep.
- Avoid foods and drinks that could interfere with sleep - Caffeine is a stimulant and should be avoided close to bedtime. Alcohol is a depressant and may help you fall asleep a bit faster, but it also makes it very hard to stay asleep. If you're a smoker, smoking cigarettes is also another habit that should be avoided close to bedtime. Certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter preparations can also interfere with sleep.
- Make your bedroom conducive to sleep - There are plenty of things in your bedroom that will rob you of a good night's sleep. Steps you can take to make sure your bedroom is the perfect sleep zone include making it as dark as possible, making sure you block out as much noise as you can, and also ensuring that your mattress and bedding is comfortable. Other things to think about are the temperature you keep the room at ( cooler is better for sleeping ) and whether or not you use a television to fall asleep. Experts recommend removing the television and replacing it with soothing sounds such as a fan or white noise generator to block out as much outside noise as possible.
- Write down what you think may be stealing your sleep - This step might seem silly, but seeing the factors you believe may be robbing you of sleep at night can be very helpful to do. Once you see the list on paper in front of you, you can begin to take steps that will enable you to check things off you list one by one until your perfect sleep environment is achieved.
Getting a good night's sleep is important for a lot of reasons. During sleep, your body rests and repairs itself from the stress and rigors of the day. People suffering from poor sleep habits will experience a lack of concentration during the day and also feel tired and irritable. Depending on the job you do, this can lead to dangerous conditions for you and others around you.
Another problem that stems from not getting the proper rest at night is drowsy driving. Studies have shown that driving while sleepy is the cause of more accidents than driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you're struggling to get a good night's sleep, it's time to try to adopt some healthy sleeping habits. If the above steps have been taken and you're still not sleeping well at night, perhaps it's best to consult with your health care provider. Proper rest at night is essential for good health and safety and should not be ignored.