There is no better feeling than waking up after a great night of sleep, feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day. You feel so good that you can even survive without stopping for your quad shot of espresso or your energy drink—usually a necessity. You wait for the 3 p.m. slump, but it never comes. Life is good. But how do you get a better night’s sleep every night?!
While this sounds like wishful thinking, unfortunately this is not how it works for most of us.
In reality, we toss and turn while trying to fall asleep and barely crawl out of bed after our third alarm goes off in the mornings. Oh, and you can forget about having time to stop for coffee or the leisurely morning you were planning on having.
If sleeping well at night isn’t your strong suit, here are a few tactics you can implement to change that.
Skip the Nap.
For a lot of us, naps are a part of our identity—but be warned: That 3 p.m. nap may seem harmless, but it could actually be the single biggest culprit in your nightly insomnia. Napping during the day can take away from your ability to fall asleep at night since your body just isn’t tired enough.
If you find that you absolutely must get a nap in during the day to survive, try taking a short, early nap. According to Very Well Health, a nap in the early afternoon may allow you 10 hours in which to build up the desire for sleep again. However, a nap in the hours preceding bedtime may make it difficult to get back to sleep later.
Get Into a Routine.
Have you ever heard of your body’s internal clock? It’s a real thing—and establishing a routine for your sleep schedule is one of the best ways to make sure it’s functioning properly.
Do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time daily (check out these morning routine ideas to kick off your day right!). When you’re able to do this, your body will naturally form a routine, and it will get easier to stick to it over time.
If you start to feel tired around 9 p.m., make a point to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. If you’re trying to get eight hours of sleep, set your alarm for 6:30 a.m., regardless of whether you need to be somewhere at that time or not. This may not be the most enjoyable thing ever, but it’s necessary when you’re training your body for your nightly rest.
This same practice should be carried through the weekends
, as well. While you may feel like sleeping in on Saturday mornings, you should try to continue to go to bed and get up at the same time on weekends so that your body gets used to the routine.
Have you heard of the 3-2-1 bedtime routine? A clinical lecturer at Imperial College London and University of Sunderland, Dr Karan, shared a hack for the perfect night’s sleep, the “3-2-1″ bedtime routine.
Dr. Karan explains that the method recommends doing a three-, two-, and one-hour routine before bed and it can help you achieve a better night’s sleep.
“Three hours before bed, don’t have any huge meals or alcohol. Alcohol stops you from having your rapid eye movement [REM] sleep which you need to have a deep restorative sleep. Having a large meal before bed can increase the risk of acid reflux and indigestion and this can affect your quality of sleep”.
He then explains the next number, 2 hours, “get rid of the work. You need to be in a relaxed state of mind and winding down”.
Finally, the final 1 hour before bed, you should not be looking at any electronic screens.
Scrolling on your phone may seem like the ideal way to fall asleep at night. Unfortunately, this may be hindering your sleep.
According to SCL Health, the blue light emitted by cell phone screens restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. This makes it difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day.
Instead of scrolling through your news feed in bed, try reading a book instead. Challenge yourself to read a chapter every night before falling asleep.
Easier said than done, right?! Why not give it a try and see how it works for you!
A better night’s sleep is possible!
You can achieve that reinvigorated feeling after a great night of sleep if you’re willing to make some slight adjustments to your daily routine and stick to them. It will not happen overnight (no pun intended), but you will see results over time if you stay disciplined.
Lowering your stress levels is also another important aspect in getting a better night’s sleep. Head to our blog post on three outdoor stress relieving activities for ideas!